14 biggest mistakes businesses make on Instagram (and how to avoid them)

With more than 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram clearly holds an appeal for brands looking to reach key target audiences.

But on the fourth-largest mobile app, it can be all too easy for brands to make very public mistakes.

The following are the 14 biggest mistakes businesses make on Instagram, as well as how you can avoid them for your own brand.

Instagram mistake #1: Purchasing likes or followers

Often, the currency of social media (and Instagram in particular) centers around authenticity. 

Buying your likes and/or Instagram followers may give you quantity, but definitely not quality. And by doing so, you risk breaking the trust of your real followers and commenters.

We also don’t recommend paying for automated outgoing comments because it definitely makes your brand look more like a robot than a personality that people want to engage with. Plus, you’re missing the opportunity to authentically engage with your target audience.

Instead, focus on a strategy where you prioritize engaging content and meaningful interactions with other users.

Instagram mistake #2: Not optimizing your Instagram bio

Too many companies don’t adequately optimize their Instagram bios. Remember that beyond your post that could reach a user who’s unfamiliar with your brand, your bio is often the first impression you can make.

Keep your bio clear, concise and relevant. You can use links, emojis and even line breaks to make your bio unique and easy to understand.

Instagram mistake #3: The use of poor-quality photos or videos

Instagram is a visual-first social media platform. While you don’t have to have the most expensive photographer shoot all your photos and videos, you do have to be thoughtful in the images that you are publishing.

Beautiful is great, but even interesting or well-composed images also work.

Think about your lighting, finding a neutral background and the composition of your images. 

Fortunately, there are many easy-to-use photo editing apps and graphic design tools to edit your images as needed.

Instagram mistake #4: Your posting frequency is off

There’s a fine line to walk on Instagram before you end up posting “too much” or “too little.” It’s such an easy mistake to make.

With too many posts, your brand can look desperate to users. With too few, your brand’s Instagram account can appear inactive and forgettable.

The “right” number is not only ever evolving but can also depend on your industry and audience. 

For example, a news outlet could post multiple times per day, and that makes sense. A retail brand, on the other hand, would be more likely to post a few times per week.

Keep an eye on your analytics, so that you can find the sweet spot for your own brand’s posting frequency.

Instagram mistake #5: Ignoring your performance analytics

A huge (but common) mistake brands can make on Instagram involves ignoring your data, or at least not using your metrics enough to inform your strategy.

But go beyond the vanity metrics. It’s not only about likes. Keep your reach, audience demographics and more in mind as you publish your content.

Seeing what works and what doesn’t will only make your Instagram strategy that much stronger.

Dive deeper with our guide on Instagram Insights.

Instagram mistake #6: Using too many hashtags

A powerful tool on Instagram, hashtags (when used correctly) can help your content organically reach more users.

However, you can use too many and shoot your brand in the foot.

While you can use up to 30 hashtags, you’ll more likely see only a handful in use on any given post. Up to 11 hashtags is generally accepted these days.

See our six tips to master hashtags on Instagram.

Instagram mistake #7: Inattention to sharing quality content

All content is not created equal.

If you allow the quality of your overall content to slide, then you risk publishing posts that are boring, spammy and/or out of touch. Big mistake.

Don’t post just to post. Always ask yourself if what you’re posting is intriguing, informative and/or fun. If it is, your target audience will more likely engage with it. What does your audience care about?

See our seven tips for leveling up your brand’s content marketing.

Instagram mistake #8: Being impersonal

Just because you’re speaking for and representing your brand, doesn’t mean that you’re not human. Many brands make the mistake of being too professional. 

Take a moment to think about your brand voice and how you should be engaging with and speaking to your target audience on Instagram.

Instagram mistake #9: Lacking an Instagram strategy

An Instagram strategy goes beyond just what you’re going to do, it drills into what your Instagram goals are and what actions should happen to help achieve those goals.

No matter what your goals are, it’s very difficult to achieve them without a plan to do so. That lack of a plan or strategy is a big Instagram mistake.

Dive deeper into what you should do with our 16 Instagram marketing tips.

Instagram mistake #10: Inconsistency with your visuals

This ties into your branding. What colors, aesthetics and tone define your brand? Inconsistencies with your overall visual presentation is a mistake.

Now, apply that to the compilation of all your Instagram images. When you look at your Instagram profile (and all your images in one place), is there a consistent look and feel?

Variations can exist, of course. But the idea is that overall, an Instagram follower should generally recognize your content when it appears in your feed.

Your consistent visual presentation can be included in your overall Instagram strategy. It could be as simple as a style guide.

Instagram mistake #11: Errors in your captions

Just like with any other piece of your digital marketing, typos put the perception of your professionalism and credibility at risk.

But even marketing writers can make mistakes. We’re all human.

So, include a proofing process into your social media publishing (not just Instagram).

Instagram mistake #12: Not embracing Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are not as new as they used to be, and about 500 million users use this feature. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this important feature.

Instagram Stories feature fun, authentic content in a vertical orientation that disappears after a day. Stories can be used to share behind-the-scenes moments, first-person narratives and more. The sky’s the limit as far as creativity.

Instagram mistake #13: Lack of engagement with followers

Social media is not a broadcasting platform, Instagram included. It’s about conversations.

Every time a user comments on your Instagram posts, that’s an opportunity to engage with him and her that can help build a trusting relationship.

Go beyond planning and publishing your content. Consider one of the many social media management tools that can help you not only schedule your posts but monitor all engagement actions on that content. Social media management in general can help you stay on top of all social media activity.

Instagram mistake #14: Including links in your post captions

Instagram does not allow for clickable URLs in post captions. By including “links” in your captions, not only will it look messy and not work, but you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing on the platform.

The best practice is to include your relevant link in your bio and refer users to click that. It’s a common practice. If you need to share more than one link at the same time, websites like Linktree and Campsite can create a “landing page” of links that can be found through a single link that you can include in your bio link.

If you have at least 10,000 followers, you can include links in your Instagram Stories as well.

In conclusion

Whether you’ve made any of these Instagram mistakes or not, it’s never too late to improve and move forward.

Check out our list of challenges and opportunities that small businesses face on Instagram.

Plus, you can think about the bigger picture with our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you’re looking to avoid the biggest Instagram mistakes, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 expert tips to set achievable marketing goals for your small business

Most marketing advice begins the same way, with “set your goals.”

And while it may feel repetitive, it’s absolutely true. Setting goals increases the success of your marketing strategy by about 429 percent.

Of course, in the simplest sense, goals help you understand where you are at, where you want to be and when you get there.

But how do you go about setting relevant and achievable marketing goals? The following are seven expert tips to do just that.

Align your marketing goals with your company-wide objectives

Your marketing efforts inherently should support your broader business objectives. What are the overall needs of your company?

Because marketing can achieve a wide variety of goals for a brand, the more you can sync up your marketing goals with your overall business plan, the better.

For instance, if your company prioritizes growing brand loyalty among current customers over getting new customers, your marketing should align with this. Or, perhaps your business has a specific revenue goal that you can support with a certain number of lead conversions. There are many possibilities.

Go big with your marketing goals

Of course, this isn’t to say that your goals should be so big that there’s no hope or accountability in achieving them. 

Instead, it’s important to set a high goal that has a path for success, where even if you fall short, you’re still making significant strides toward what you want to see.

The key here is that you establish of learning from the outcomes of your efforts (whether you hit that big goal or not) rather than classifying them as failures because they fell short of a big goal.

Your marketing goals should be measurable

Fortunately, in digital marketing, metrics can be tied to nearly everything. All you have to do is tie specific metrics to your goal.

But it’s often not enough to simply want “more conversions.”

For example, considering the price of your product or service and the cost-per-click on either your Facebook or Google ads, you can determine your conversion rate (how much you’re paying for each conversion). Then, you can see where you need to be to make a profit (or increase profit) and use that conversion rate as your goal.

Let historical data inspire your marketing goals

A great way to plan for the future is to look to the past. How was your business performing last year? What fueled that? Are there any trends to take note of? 

You also can look at past marketing data. What campaigns were the most successful? Why? How did they perform?

Building on what has been accomplished historically is often a great starting point.

Embrace experimentation

Not every marketing goal can be based on past performance and metrics. Your business could be launching something entirely new where there is no historical data. 

When that is the case, you don’t have to feel pressured to set an official goal right away. Instead, set a timeframe (such as three to six months) for you to experiment and get an understanding of baseline performance. Then, you can make an informed decision on what your goal should be.

Think macro and micro marketing goals

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and even your biggest marketing goal shouldn’t be the only goal your business has.

Having smaller, micro goals along the way will help you not only stay focused and on track but also experiencing small wins as you go. And who doesn’t appreciate the little victories?

For example, you might set a macro goal of total content posts on a particular social media platform. Let’s just say 50 per month. Within that, you can break that down to how many per week, how many are promotional, how many are educational, how many are of each content type (video, blog article link, etc.) and so on. 

Consider the macro goal the umbrella, and the micro goals all the stems within the umbrella that help it fully extend.

Consider your time, budget and resources

It’s easy for any goal to become a bit “pie in the sky” when key factors (including time, budget and resources) aren’t involved.

But in order to set achievable marketing goals, it’s important to assess the amount of time it should reasonably take to reach a particular goal, how much it might cost and any other investment of resources that it will take.

For example, if you’re launching multiple campaigns at the same time, you may need to be realistic about what can be accomplished with that sort of pressure on your resources.

On the flip side, you might notice the opportunity to hit a goal if you simply doubled your budget for it.

Either way, time, budget and other resources all play a role in the attainability of your goals.

In conclusion

Setting achievable and effective marketing goals is both an art and a science, for sure. But doing so is critical to your overall marketing success. Once you have your goals set, it’s time to make a plan and work toward that success. Just be sure to track your performance so that you know if you’re hitting your goals or not.

Check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners for an overview on everything you can embrace in your marketing strategy. Plus, we have a handy to-do checklist that you can use.

While you’re considering how to set achievable marketing goals, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

16 Instagram marketing tips that you should know

Marketing on Instagram is a non-negotiable aspect of digital marketing for many brands.

The visuals-first social media platform boasts more than 1.16 billion users, and about 90 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business.

While the success of any brand on Instagram involves high-quality images and videos in the feed and authentic visual content in Stories, don’t be intimidated if your business doesn’t lend itself to obvious visuals. Just check out what Staples is doing on Instagram based on office supplies.

If you are trying to reach a younger audience, see our guide on evaluating the value of marketing on Instagram versus Snapchat versus TikTok.

Also dive into the challenges and opportunities of Instagram for small businesses.

The following are 16 Instagram marketing tips you should know about to boost the impact your brand can make on the platform.

Marketing with an Instagram business account

It’s important to use an Instagram Business account when marketing on the platform.

You can check that you are (and switch if necessary) by going into your Instagram profile and tapping on the menu icon at the top right. Then, tap on “Settings,” “Account,” and then opt to switch to a professional account.

By using a business account, you’ll have access to Instagram Insights, ads, Instagram Shop, primary and secondary messaging inboxes, contact information on your profile and a call-to-action button on your profile.

In other words, this type of Instagram account gives you more tools in your marketing toolbox.

Determine your Instagram goals

Just with any marketing tactic, you must set your goals to best define your approach and strategy.

Ask yourself what you want to accomplish by marketing on Instagram. Some examples include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Get new leads
  • Establish your brand as an industry leader
  • Create an alternative selling method

Or, of course, you could have a combined goal, but the simpler the goal, the better. That makes it easier to set a timeframe and stay focused on a limited number of metrics that tie into your goal.

To keep it simple and help prioritize, consider what you’d like to accomplish first above all else.

Understand your target audience

First, the following you have (or can grow) on Instagram is going to be different than any other social media platform. Second, you must determine whether this syncs up with your target audience, or if there is some work you must do to better align your Instagram content to the wants, needs and interests of your target audience.

While Instagram users tend to skew younger, that doesn’t mean the overall users of the app aren’t diverse.

Dive deeper with our seven tips to help determine your target audience

Optimize your Instagram profile

No detail is too small when it comes to your Instagram profile. Other than your posts, this is your first impression for countless users who come across your content for one reason or another. This is where users purposefully go to find out more about you. Don’t leave them disappointed or confused.

Some points to consider:

  • Be personable and as detailed as possible in your 150-character Instagram bio.
  • Be clear in your name, where you are allowed 30 characters
  • Your username (or handle) should also make sense.
  • Include your website link in the URL field (but know that you can change that out as often as you like).
  • Choose a category for your business.
  • Maintain up-to-date contact information.
  • Take advantage of available call-to-action buttons.
  • Choose the right profile photo that bests represents your business (often your logo).

Create and post visually engaging content

Because Instagram is a visual-first platform, your posts and Stories have to be eye-catching to say the least.

While professional photography equipment (and skills) may not be available to you, that’s OK. Focus on photos and videos that are in focus and well-lit. Any infographics (or other illustrations) should be easy-to-read and crisp.

Of course, it’s not enough to have well-composed photos. There needs to be a story that you’re conveying in every post to encourage engagement. Compelling posts can include:

  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Regrams of user-generated content
  • How-to explainers

Ideally, you’re striving to publish Instagram content that’s worthy of sharing and commenting, not just liking.

Keep in mind that your content doesn’t just have to come from you. It can be sourced from your fans, customers and/or other users as well.

Consistent Instagram look and feel

More than any other social media platform, brands must consider what the look and feel of their overall Instagram presence.

We mentioned Staples earlier. You’ll notice their branded red throughout their posts in addition to the same branded fonts and other bright, bold colors. Their images are all very clean and clear.

Your look and feel should reflect your brand overall and be recognizable in your followers’ news feeds, but give yourself a little latitude to play. It’s all about being consistent.

Don’t underestimate the power of your captions

Because Instagram is a visual medium, it’s easy to overlook the opportunity you have with your captions. Your brand’s voice is just as important as your brand’s look. Again, you want to be consistent here.

There is a lot of flexibility in what you can say since you have up to 2,200 characters available to you. Just keep in mind that only the first two lines of text will automatically show in a news feed, without tapping the More button.

In other words, while you can say as much as you like, you’ll want to lead with the most important information in those first couple of lines.

As far as ideal caption length on Instagram, strive for between 138 and 150 characters on organic posts and 125 characters on ads. You can go longer. Just make sure it adds value to your content.

Be smart about your Instagram hashtags

Hashtags are a viable way to increase your discoverability on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a single Instagram post, but to be fair, it’s not recommended to use all 30.

Instead, identify about a half dozen relevant hashtags to include with your post. 

Dive deeper with our six tips on mastering Instagram hashtags.

Don’t just broadcast, engage

Just like with any social media platform, success is not based on only publishing the best content. It’s a mix of factors, one of the biggest being your brand engaging with other users and accounts.

Definitely respond to comments on your own posts and direct messages sent to your account. But you also should invest time liking and commenting on other posts that are relevant to your brand for whatever reason. 

It’s those small actions that add up to building a true online community, not just a one-way broadcasting platform.

Embrace Instagram Stories

While only half of businesses on Instagram use the Stories feature, about a third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses.

In other words, you have a great opportunity to engage with your audience through Instagram Stories.

Because Stories content disappears after 24 hours, followers expect Stories to be less polished and more authentic than your Instagram feed.

When considering what to publish in Stories, remember that this is a visual storytelling opportunity, where several Stories can work together to tell a story. So, you want to:

  • Have a message you’d like to convey in mind.
  • Use multiple “scenes” (image or video) to string together.
  • Include a call-to-action that is very clear to viewers
  • Keep your brand identity (look and feel) consistent

You can also reshare others’ Stories that tag you into your own Stories. Just act fast because the opportunity to reshare disappears after 24 hours.

Stories can also be saved longer than 24 hours and categorized into Highlights on your Instagram profile. Cover images are recommended for your Story Highlights as well to maintain brand identity.

Go live on Instagram

To connect with your audience in real time, you’ll want to go live. Of course, even though the expectation on Instagram Live is raw, authentic content, you can still go in with a plan. Some options: 

  • Go behind the scenes at a product launch or an event.
  • Host a Q&A.
  • Lead a workshop or tutorial.
  • Go live with an expert, employee, customer or influencer by using the “Add A Guest” feature.

Consider Instagram Shop in your strategy

About 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month.

With a professional account on Instagram, you can create your own online store inside of Instagram. Doing so makes a “View Shop” button appear on your Instagram profile.

In addition, with a “Shop” tab on the Explore page of Instagram, having an Instagram Shop will make you more discoverable.

Instagram Reels worth experimenting with

Another content feature on the visual-first platform is Instagram Reels, which are multi-cuut videos (similar to TikTok).

Just as you would play with content on Instagram Stories, the same should happen with Reels. Not sure where to start? Watch some Reels, whether they’re from within your industry or not, to get a feel for different approaches.

Explore an influencer partnership

Influencer marketing is only growing, and Instagram is one of the best platforms for it.

Of course, a partnership doesn’t just happen. You’ll want to do your research and analyze the value of working with possible influencers. Often, a simple Instagram takeover is a common tactic to start with.

Dig deeper with our seven tips to know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Go beyond organic reach with Instagram ads

Based on your target audience, you can better reach them by running Instagram ads, which can be created through Instagram but also by using the Facebook Ad Manager (since Facebook owns Instagram).

You can target by location, demographics, interests and behaviors to best reach the people who will most likely be interested in your business and what you offer.

Monitor performance with Instagram Insights

Tracking your metrics is an important aspect of any digital marketing campaign, whether it’s on Instagram or not.

Regularly checking on your performance in Instagram Insights will show you what is working and what’s not. Then, you can pivot your strategy quickly to do more of what performs and less of what doesn’t.

See our guide on Instagram metrics.

Not sure if Instagram is the right social media platform for your brand, check out our breakdown of how to determine which one is.

As you’re working through your Instagram marketing strategy, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to help you determine your target audience

Even if you could afford to target everyone, it’s not a good idea. 

Why? Because the success of our digital marketing (and business) happens based on determining our target audience and creating a strategy focused on reaching that group of consumers.

And no small business can afford to target everyone.

The way small businesses can compete is by identifying and targeting a niche market that makes sense for the products and services that are offered.

Even if you’re opting to say that you target “stay-at-home moms” or “homeowners” rather than “anyone interested,” that’s still too general.

But keep in mind that specific targeting is not intended to officially exclude people who don’t fall within your target. Rather, it’s about reaching the right group (who is more likely to buy from you than other groups) with the right message for them at that moment.

About 40.5 percent of consumers say they prefer seeing online ads for products targeted to their interests rather than random ads.

Of course, the importance of a target audience goes beyond marketing and actually plays a key role in your business plan that can be used to secure financing as well, as explained by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The following are seven tips to help you determine the target audience for your business.

Examine your customer base

It’s important to start by digging deeper into your customer database. Ask yourself:

  • Who are your current customers?
  • Why do your current customers buy from you?
  • Which customers bring in the most business (i.e. are the most loyal)?

Be sure to take note of all common characteristics and interests among your best customers. It’s very likely that similar consumers would also benefit from your products and/or services as you’re looking at getting specific with your target audience.

A customer survey can help supplement some of the more detailed information about your customers. In addition, consider examining your social media following. Most platforms have various tools to better understand your audience, including:

Conduct a competitive analysis

Understanding who your competitors are targeting and who their current customers are can help give you insight into targeting opportunities. 

This is not because you should similar target the same group. You definitely should not.

Instead, understanding who’s being targeted by your competitors can help you find a niche they might be missing (and that you can hone in on).

Dive deeper into what a competitive analysis entails, as well as 16 tools to help you conduct one as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Doing so will help you gain insights into the audiences your competitors are after.

Analyze your products and/or services

Take the time to review everything you offer as a business. You can do this in a structured way by creating a list of features for each product or service you offer.

Then, break this down further by documenting the benefits each feature offers. Once you have a detailed list of benefits, you can brainstorm the people whose needs would be fulfilled by those benefits.

While this may still be too broad of a grouping to officially identify as your target audience, it can definitely get you going in the right direction.

Use social listening for deeper insights

Social listening is an excellent way to discover online conversations about your business, industry and/or products or services.

This tactic involves monitoring relevant keywords and hashtags that show what people are saying about your and even your competitors online (whether or not you’re tagged). Of course, the flip side of social listening goes beyond monitoring where you should actually be engaging with those consumers.

In the end, not only can social listening help you generate leads, it can also deepen your social media research that can feed into determining your target audience.

Find out more about social listening, as well as the difference between social listening and crowdsourcing.

Identify specific demographics

Now is the time to get into the nitty gritty of your target audience. Based on the characteristics of your best customers and those who would most benefit from your products or services, determine the following demographics:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Marital or family status
  • Ethnic background

Evaluate what demographics are the most crucial for the growth of your business.

Go beyond the demographics

Once you’ve solidified the demographics of your target audience, take it one step further. Consider their psychographics, which are the personal characteristics of people.

This includes:

  • Personality
  • Values
  • Attitudes
  • Lifestyles
  • Behavior
  • Interests or hobbies

Of course, psychographics go deeper than the surface demographics you’ve already determined.

Start by thinking through how your product or service fits into your ideal customer’s lifestyle. Ask such questions as:

  • How will your ideal customer use your product or service?
  • When will your ideal customer use it?
  • What features of your product or service are most appealing to your ideal customer?
  • How does your ideal customer consume media? Does he or she read the newspaper, attend particular events or search online?
  • What social media channels does your ideal customer use?

Your questions don’t have to end there, of course, the better you build and understand the persona of your ideal customer (i.e. target audience), the more specific you can target.

Confirm your target audience

Once you feel confident that you have identified your target audience, it doesn’t hurt to evaluate and confirm your decision-making result.

It’s key to consider whether your target is large enough, or has it swung from being too broad to being too niche? Will your target audience actually benefit from your products or services? Do you fully understand what drives your target audience to make purchase decisions?

Of course, simpler considerations include whether your target audience can actually afford your product or service and whether you can actually reach them with your message (or are they not easily accessible)?

In conclusion

It’s entirely possible that you’ve identified more than just one target audience. This is absolutely fine as long as you differentiate your messaging between niches. For example, you wouldn’t address stay-at-home mothers the same as about-to-graduate college students.

Just know that while defining your target audience can be difficult, it’s worth the effort. You can then be that much more successful in your digital marketing efforts, which can lead to more sales.

Check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners to get a better understanding about everything digital marketing can do. Plus, see our 18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses.

As you’re defining your target audience, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Snapshot: The challenges and opportunities of Snapchat for businesses

Businesses typically can be hesitant to use Snapchat in their digital marketing strategy.

And there is no right or wrong with that position because every business (and its goals and resources) is different.

Created in 2011, Snapchat features image and video messaging between users.

More than 280 million people use Snapchat daily, and the overall audience skews younger, with about 69 percent of teenagers saying they use the app.

In addition, more than 5 billion (image or video) snaps are created each day.

At the very least, it’s important for every brand to understand both the challenges and opportunities of Snapchat from your perspective.

Opportunity #1: You can reach a younger audience

If your brand is targeting a younger audience, then Snapchat needs to be included in some way in your overall strategy.

Snapchat is the most popular social media network among teenagers, with Instagram and TikTok following closely behind it. Considering the direct messaging capabilities, ephemeral content (that expires after 24 hours) and the fun filters and stickers available in snaps, this fact makes sense.

Challenge #1: Lack of ROI measurement

Snapchat has had notoriously lackluster analytics options available for brand marketers.

So much so that many brands have had to get creative to see if their Snapchat efforts are making an impact. Examples include:

  • Snapchat-only promo codes so that you can track usage in another system
  • Requesting direct messages in a promotion

On the micro-level, the app does not have a way to track clicks and views inside of Snapchat stories and posts.

But on the macro-level, you can get a feel of overall growth and engagement.

That being said, when analytics are such a critical part to successful digital marketing strategies, it’s hard for many businesses to invest time and resources into a platform where the ROI can be vague at best.

Opportunity #2: One-on-one engagement

While one-on-one engagement might sound like a challenge at first (sounds like limited reach, right?), it really is an opportunity for your brand to build better, more trusting relationships with your audience.

Trust is a huge contributor to converting your audience into paying (and even loyal) customers. 

And in a world where conversational marketing is becoming increasingly important, Snapchat can fill that role.

Because snaps are delivered to the individual, the app boasts a more personal experience by default. In addition, the app really embraces behind-the-scenes and day-in-the-life content, which can make the engagement you generate even more impactful.

Challenge #2: Time limitations

Time impacts two different aspects of Snapchat. 

First, video clips have a 10-second limit, so if you need to show more than that, you must string together a series of clips to convey your message.

Second, media content disappears after 24 hours, so your Snaps have a limited window to reach and engage your audience. This constraint also typically increases the need to post more content more frequently.

Of course, some would argue that this is the draw of Snapchat—bite-sized content that’s always fresh.

Either way, you must plan accordingly when expanding your brand presence to Snapchat.

Opportunity #3: Snapchat now includes discoverability

Not part of the original app, the Discover feature allows users to explore premium content from publishing partners.

Sharing content on Snapchat Discover can increase brand awareness and reach, but becoming a Snapchat publishing partner is not a straightforward process. It involves an official agreement with Snapchat to post content on Discover that will engage audiences.

Your brand might try the Snap Map feature instead. This is where nearby users using available location services can discover your geotagged content.

Previously, many brands had to share their Snapcodes on other platforms to help anyone (who also was on Snapchat) find them.

Challenge #3: Lack of typical engagement actions

If you’re looking for engagement actions (like shares and likes), you won’t find them on Snapchat.

The app just doesn’t operate that way. For example, a user can only re-share content by taking a screenshot and uploading it to other platforms.

This clearly puts a damper on the overall reach of your Snapchat content when others’ actions don’t necessarily lead to a boost.

Ultimately, Snapchat may or may not work for your brand. Examine the potential ROI and determine whether you have the resources to achieve your goals for the app.

While you’re considering whether to dive into Snapchat, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

LinkedIn marketing: 6 tips to be more effective

Known as the largest professional social network, marketing on LinkedIn can be effective when done right.

LinkedIn now has more than 660 million registered professionals.

LinkedIn has assisted about 45 percent of marketers with customer acquisition, while the platform accounts for about 80 percent of B2B (business to business) leads.

If you’re not already on LinkedIn or might not be using the platform to its full potential, you’re missing out on marketing opportunities for you as a professional and your brand.

The following are six tips for better marketing on LinkedIn.

Optimize your profile and page

While it’s a simple step, creating and optimizing your LinkedIn profile and/or page is a key first step when marketing yourself or your brand.

The best part of this step is that it’s completely free to do. 

It matters because you want to showcase what you’re all about for everyone who comes across your presence.

The actions you should take to optimize your LinkedIn profile include (but are not limited to):

  • Using a high-quality profile image that’s professional and is close up on your face
  • Including your current job position
  • Add at least a half dozen relevant skills
  • Fill out any past professional experience
  • Connect with relevant colleagues

The actions you should take to optimize your LinkedIn page include (but are not limited to):

  • Using a high-quality brand logo image
  • Choosing a high-quality cover image that represents your brand
  • Filling out all available fields, such as About, Life, Jobs, etc.
  • Consistent posts that include a mix of content

Strategize your content

Avoid the mistake of creating and optimizing your LinkedIn profile and/or page—and then neglecting it.

Content is like the marketing currency of the internet, especially on social media. You’ll want to create, share and publish content on LinkedIn that educates, informs, guides, inspires and/or entertains your following. A content calendar can help you stay organized.

Be sure to mix your content up to be as engaging as possible. This includes:

  • Custom images
  • Native video posted directly to the platform
  • Native articles that look like blogs but created within LinkedIn itself
  • Links to not just your own articles but those of others as well

Just remember that LinkedIn is not a text-only platform, so break out of text-only posts. Think through the goal of your LinkedIn presence. Is it brand awareness? To establish yourself or your brand as a thought leader in your industry? 

Whatever the goal, your content should support and project that. You want your content to be actionable. Then, be sure to engage with others’ content and any comments on your own content. Social media (including LinkedIn) is a two-way conversation, not just a broadcast.

Involve your colleagues, employees

More than possibly any other social media platform, LinkedIn is all about the connections you make. 

And in that sense, your colleagues and/or employees can be some of your biggest advocates.

You can encourage colleagues to engage with your content and endorse your listed skills.

Employees can add your company to their personal profiles, engage with company posts and share them with their networks. They also can share any news or articles that your company is featured in on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Groups are also a great place for you, your colleagues or your employees to get involved with. They’re designated pages that enable people from within the same industry or with shared interests to interact with each other.

Personalize your direct messages

Direct messaging on LinkedIn is a popular tactic on LinkedIn, especially for sales representatives and job recruiters. 

But these messages are often generic, templated and not very effective.

The more you can do to engage with your recipient’s content and review his or her profile for key points that you can use to connect with, the better.

You also can consider using personalized InMail, which is a feature that’s available to individual Premium accounts (not through LinkedIn Company Pages). This is a great way to reach out to influential individuals on the platform to build a relationship. LinkedIn InMail gets three times more responses than regular emails.

Consider LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn offers advertising opportunities on its platform. In fact, its Matched Audiences feature allows you to target the most relevant users by retargeting people who have visited your website as well as people who are on your existing account or your email contacts.

This is an effective tactic because these individuals you’re targeting have some familiarity with you or your company already. So, there’s an increased possibility that you’ll convert them into customers.

Monitor your performance

Whether you’re tracking how your profile is doing (though a LinkedIn Premium account) or how your page is doing, understanding your performance on LinkedIn is important so that you can make adjustments to your strategy as you go along.

It all comes down to seeing what’s working and what’s not. 

Remember, there’s no such thing as a failed post. Everything is a learning opportunity.

If you’re looking to make the management of your LinkedIn presence a little easier, consider one of these 11 free (or almost free) social media management tools.

For more on how to market well using LinkedIn, see what LinkedIn itself advises.

While you’re considering how to improve your LinkedIn marketing strategy, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses

For small businesses, marketing is important but also can feel out of budget.

About one in five small businesses doesn’t use digital marketing, while about one in 10 doesn’t invest in any kind of marketing.

But this doesn’t have to be your small business.

About 47 percent of businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing per year.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make an impact with potential customers and brand yourself online.

The following are 18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses that you can try without breaking the bank.

Embrace social media for low-cost marketing

Social media is an excellent way to:

  • Express your brand’s identity
  • Create trusting relationships with your audience
  • Build up your online community
  • Establish yourself as an expert in your industry and/or community

All of these benefits can ultimately help you grow your small business. 

While all the major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and so on) are free to create business accounts on and use, it’s worthwhile to analyze where your time and focus is best spent.

In other words, consider where your target audience is and what resources you have in your favor. If you’re not ready for a full YouTube video channel yet, for example, start with occasional live videos on your Facebook page to get your feet wet.

See our guide to help you decide where to start on social media.

Remember that once you choose where to start, you can use your social media to:

  • Promote any blog posts that can drive traffic to your website
  • Engage with your audience (such as responding to any direct messages or comments)
  • Request feedback, helping your customers feel heard and cared about
  • And more!

Just be consistent and active on any profiles/pages you’re managing.

Smaller but other low-cost tactics you can embrace specifically on social media include:

  • Tagging people (such as loyal customers) and other brands, which can help grow your organic reach on any platform
  • Using hashtags, which are particularly helpful on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok

Create your Google My Business account

If you’re a business with a fixed location that needs to appeal to local customers, a Google My Business account is critical to create and optimize.

It’s essentially a free online listing that helps your business appear on Google Maps, which is the local section of Google Search. You’ll also appear in the right-side knowledge panel for any branded searches, where an internet user is searching for you specifically.

To optimize your profile, be sure to verify your ownership of it first. (This is done through your Google My Business account.) Then, confirm that all contact information is correct. You also can upload photos, post an offer and encourage customers to review your business on Google.

Explore local SEO

Speaking of Google My Business, it’s important to pay extra attention to your local search engine optimization (SEO). Focusing on ways you can rank higher in local search queries in your target area is both low-cost and high-impact if done right.

You can start by:

  • Getting listed in online directories
  • Adding location-based keywords throughout your website and content

See our 11 tips for boosting your local SEO.

Commit to email marketing

While email marketing can be dismissed by some, it’s wise to embrace it. Why? To start, the return on investment is high. See 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Email is a great, inexpensive way to maintain relationships with your existing customers. It also can enable you to build trust with potential customers to the point that they will convert and purchase from your business.

Of course, it all starts with building up your email contact list whether you have a website or not. See our 12 strategies to capture more leads on your website or our six ways you can capture email leads without a website.

Then, once you have contact to send emails to, consider constructing a strong email onboarding sequence. Keep in mind that there are 10 parts in the anatomy of a marketing email that make it successful. Plus, email automation can help you engage with customers and leads at exactly the right times. If you’re considering “cold emailing,” check out our 11 tips to increase your open rate.

To dive deeper into email marketing, check out these eight recommended online courses.

(While not a traditional component of email marketing, keep in mind the opportunity to optimize all employee email signatures. Links that can be used include social media accounts, calendar meeting requests and so on.)

Focus on content marketing

Content marketing is all about attracting website traffic and social media engagement through the valuable content that you create.

While it’s always possible to hire others to create content for you, whatever you can do yourself will save you expenses on your budget.

Starting a blog is a great (and common) way to get the content wheel turning for your brand. Video content also is highly engaging. And repurposing your existing evergreen content is a great way to save on both time and money.

Remember that premium content, such as webinars or ebooks, can also directly help with lead generation.

Of course, the key to success is how you plan and promote your content. See our seven tips to level up your content marketing, and consider using a content calendar to stay organized. And if you are struggling with the creation, check out our guide on beating marketing writer’s block.

Get visual with infographics

Data lends itself to valuable content for your audience. While about 74 percent of marketing content contained a visual element in 2019, infographics specifically can increase website traffic by up to 12 percent.

Of course, hiring a designer to create infographics for you to publish and share can be costly. Fortunately, there are several low-cost and free graphic design tools that you can use to create your own for low-cost marketing.

If you don’t have any of your own data to use in an infographic, there are several open, public sources you can pull from, including:

Just make sure to credit the source of any data you use.

Claim available ad credits for low-cost marketing

Facebook, Google, Yelp and other digital advertising platforms occasionally offer free promo credits to encourage businesses to advertise with them. Whether it’s a discount or a free amount of advertising, it’s important to pay attention to these offers so that you can take advantage.

Read any fine print associated with available offers, and review our guide on the difference between cost-per-click and cost-per-impression advertising. Plus, check out our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget so that you can maximize whatever amount of money to do decide to spend (or get the most out of the advertising credits offered).

Apply for relevant business awards

Business awards don’t just happen. Whether it’s in your community or nationwide, there traditionally is an application and/or nomination process.

Either way, it’s worthwhile to engage in the award process because winning an award is low-cost marketing at its core, but you also can include a mention or badge on your website that acts as social proof of your authority and trustworthiness.

Awards can be industry-wise or community “best of.”

See more options to build up your social proof that can help drive sales, plus social proof tools that can help.

Get creative with guerilla marketing

Guerilla marketing is all about creativity over money. There is no limit to what you can do with guerilla marketing. Whether it’s sidewalk chalk promoting your business around the block from your location or placing stickers all over town simply to catch people’s eye.

It doesn’t take much, money-wise, but the important part is to be as creative as possible to get attention for your brand for this low-cost marketing tactic.

Partner up with other businesses

Just because you own a small business doesn’t mean that you’re alone. There’s strength in numbers.

Partnering with other businesses is about building mutually beneficial relationships, whether it’s for a special event, placing business cards in each other’s locations or something more. This can expose your brand to an entirely new audience and vice versa.

Make sure to research the business you’re considering partnering with, determine how you can best work together and clarify the expectations between the two of you for this form of low-cost marketing.

Encourage employees to be brand ambassadors

Another form of social proof, word-of-mouth advertising is both affordable and effective. Brand ambassadors are individuals who care about your brand and promote it personally to those they know. 

Employees, who have a natural interest in the success of your business, are great candidates for this form of low-cost marketing. An example of a brand ambassador campaign is an invite-only “friends and family” sale that your employees can promote among their social networks.

If you want to go a step further than encouraging your employees to be brand ambassadors, consider exploring influencer marketing. You’ll definitely want a plan that can keep overall expenses to a minimum, though.

Set up a referral program for low-cost marketing

Again, word of mouth is powerful. You can support this tactic by setting up a referral program for your existing customers.

About 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product if their friends or family recommend it.

Of course, you can decide the parameters of your program, whether it’s a free product, discount or something else to reward customers for referring others to your business. Make sure that your system has a way of tracking and even automating the referral rewards as much as possible.

Host classes or events

While hosting a class or event could easily break your budget, it’s also possible to keep the cost under control. Focus on your expertise and strength (as well as the needs of your target audience), consider whether there is a registration fee or not tied to the class or event and then promote, promote, promote to get the benefits of this low-cost marketing tactic.

Fortunately, you can share the event on social media in a number of different ways, including creating a Facebook event and/or building an entire “countdown” campaign to generate excitement. While low-tech, clear and eye-catching fliers can be effective when placed in areas that are well seen by your target audience.

Start small, and with each class or event, you can pivot and improve each time.

Create a contest or giveaway

Everyone appreciates winning a prize. The important part about hosting any giveaway or content is to determine what is appealing enough as a prize that will draw engagement and attention in this low-cost marketing method.

Your prize doesn’t have to be very expensive, and ideally, it should be a bit of a wash on your budget. Depending on the user, even some branded swag could be enough. Just think through it because every brand is different, and what would appeal to your target audience can vary.

The goal is typically lead generation, brand awareness or both, so think through the type of contest/giveaway that can help you achieve your goal. For example, you could host a business card drawing using a fishbowl in your business or post a social media style contest. It all depends on what works for your brand and resources.

Then, be sure to include relevant terms and conditions for your giveaway that satisfy local legal requirements tied to operating a contest or giveaway in your state or country.

Consider affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is about creating additional revenue streams for your small business, where an affiliate (you and/or your small business) earns a commission for marketing another’s products.

More than 80 percent of brands have affiliate programs, so there are a lot of opportunities out there. 

And affiliate marketing is especially low-risk (and a great method of low-cost marketing). Either you’re successful and generate a commission or you’re not. There is no upfront cost (outside of your time and effort spent marketing the affiliate offer). As long as you find the right fit for your own brand and audience, there is a real potential for achieving additional revenue.

Dive deeper with our affiliate marketing tips that can help you get started.

Tout your expertise

Whether you’re speaking at an event, appearing on a panel or guest writing for publications and/or blogs, seeking opportunities to get your name (and the name of your business) out there through appearances elsewhere both in-person and online can expose your brand to new audiences.

You also can answer questions on platforms like Quora, joining HARO or being active on online forums that are relevant to your industry.

Sharing your expertise is a form of low-cost marketing.

See our 10 tips to build your personal brand and grow your business as a result.

Offer free trials, samples or other types of coupons

It might sound counterproductive to give a service or product away, but free trials or samples are a great way to help convert potential customers in this method of low-cost marketing.

It falls into the category of “try before you buy.”

Of course, there also are platforms like Groupon that you can explore as well if it makes sense for your brand. You’re essentially being paid for leads that are then up to you to convert.

Start your own podcast

While an initial investment in equipment might be needed, starting and maintaining your own podcast is more about time than money.

Perhaps you already have an idea of the type of podcast you want to create and are ready to jump in, but beware: It’s estimated that there are at least 1.75 million shows already (and they’re definitely not all delivering on the invested time and resources). 

Learn more about how to start your first podcast.

For more tips overall, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you’re exploring low-cost marketing methods, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Premium content: What it is and how you can leverage it in your marketing

If content is king, then what would premium content be?

Content marketing itself is increasingly important for businesses to embrace in a digital world. Think of your website (or even your social media accounts) as a planet. Your content being the gravitational pull that generates traffic and engagement. 

Then, of course, we leverage that traffic and engagement to fuel conversions, which equates to sales and boosting our bottom line.

The most common types of content include:

  • Blog articles
  • Graphic illustrations
  • Videos
  • GIFs

What is premium content?

Premium content then is original information that is valuable enough for website visitors (or social media users) to provide their contact information to get it. 

To be more specific, premium content:

  • Answers common questions you encounter in your industry
  • Dives deeper into a topic to deliver knowledge
  • Offers tips and advice that can be acted on
  • Addresses challenges that your customers and potential customers face
  • Is relevant to the needs and wants of your customers and potential customers

How you package your premium content can vary. Some common types include:

  • Webinar, which is a video web presentation typically hosted by an expert in the industry sharing a presentation slide deck. It can be presented live and/or recorded and available long after the webinar is over.
  • eBook, which is a PDF that’s usually about a few dozen pages long. It’s very visual with professionally designed pages (including a cover). It’s ideal to include your pitch and contact information at the end of an ebook.
  • White paper, which is an in-depth evaluation of a topic in PDF format that includes expert research and is usually six to 12 pages in length.
  • Template, which gives customers or potential customers frameworks for creating something (like a content calendar, for example). This is usually offered in PDF format.
  • Interactive tools, which help measure or assess something (like a special calculator, for example). You might need to do some programming for this type of premium content.

Of course, to access premium content, visitors should fill out a web form with their name and email address at the very least. But it’s up to you if you’d like to collect more information up front, such as company name, profession, phone number, zip code, etc.

Just keep in mind that the more information you require, the lower the conversion rate of your premium content (no matter how appealing it might be).

After submitting the web form, users should immediately receive the premium content through a link or email.

5 ways to leverage premium content in your marketing

Beyond the tips below that are specific to marketing your premium content, check out our seven tips to level up your content marketing as well.

On your website

The homepage of your website is prime real estate to promote your premium content and is often the most trafficked page of many websites.

You also can use pop-up or slide-in ads on your website. The advantage of these is that they can appear on any of your web pages after a set amount of time.

Plus, very simple in-line links within other content can also be helpful. You can highlight and feature selected portions of your premium content in blogs, for example.

No matter how you promote on your website, make sure that your call-to-action button is bold and attention-grabbing.

Email promotion

Depending on your goals, email promotion may or may not make sense. If lead generation is the goal, then you would be promoting your premium content to contacts you already have.

But if it makes sense to do so, you can share teasers of your premium content in your regular email newsletter and other marketing emails.

Social media

Organic social media posts are a great way to promote your content to potential leads you’ve never come into contact with before. You can even encourage your staff to share the premium content link on their social media channels. And paid social media campaigns can help you target your ads even further to those who are most likely to engage with you.

Google

You can use Google AdWords to target the promotion of your content to internet users based on their search intent. 

In addition, you can try Google Display Ads, which allow you to target websites, apps and videos that are part of the Google Display Network. 

Print advertising

It may sound archaic, but there might be some print advertising opportunities to explore, depending on your target audience.

We recommend including a QR code in your print ad so that those interested can easily give you their contact information and download your content. 

While you’re exploring how to best promote your premium content, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 things fitness professionals should know about marketing

Joining the fitness industry typically means that you’re passionate about helping people.

It doesn’t always mean that you’re a digital marketing genius.

Whether you’re the best personal trainer, group trainer and/or gym owner, you must be able to get the word out about your facilities, services and skills. Otherwise, your fitness business is only going to go so far.

Especially when you’re already contending against the natural industry trend of high turnover. About 50 percent of all new gym members quit going within six months.

So, while you’re honing your fitness expertise and becoming the best trainer you can be, take note of these six things every fitness professional should know about digital marketing. Embracing any or all of these tips will only strengthen your fitness business.

Know your target audience

This recommendation expands far beyond just fitness professionals marketing themselves and/or their gym. 

It’s imperative for successful digital marketing on any medium and with any campaign.

The obvious temptation when it comes to answering the question, “Who are you trying to reach?” leads to the answer: “Everyone.”

Resist this temptation. 

Striving to reach (and appeal to) everyone is generic and will yield lackluster results. When you’re trying to engage everyone, you might as well reach no one.

Why? A few reasons.

  1. You likely already have a specific niche within your own fitness expertise.
  2. Potential customers want to feel like you’re speaking directly to them and the problems they’re looking to solve. If your message is more of a broad stroke than a targeted bullseye, you won’t stand out from the noise they’re exposed to daily.
  3. No one converts “everyone.” So, step out of that mindset. You’ll find more success targeting a specific group of people. 

Now that we’ve addressed the “everyone” temptation, you need to ask yourself: “Who am I really trying to reach?” If that’s a difficult question to answer, then ask yourself: “Who is my ideal client?” 

Of course, the characteristics could cover age, gender, average income, geographic location, whether they have children or any other lifestyle demographics. If you already have an existing client database, dive in to find out more about who already is paying you. If you’re about to launch your fitness business, think about what makes your services stand out and go from there.

Knowing your target audience for your fitness marketing also will save you time and money because you’ll only invest resources in the methods and mediums that make sense for who you’re trying to reach and convert.

Embrace social media

Whether you like it, love it, hate it or can simply co-exist with it, social media is a must for fitness professionals. Millennials and Gen Z now make up about 80 percent of gym goers worldwide.

That’s right.

And not surprisingly, most social media users also are Millennials and Gen Z.

So, if you’ve been lagging on your social media presence, now is the time to recommit. 

Of course, there are a number of social media platforms. Instagram and Facebook are obvious choices to focus on. If you need help deciding where to start, check out our guide.

But no matter what platform you focus on, quality content rules. It’s your personality, authenticity and expertise that will set you apart from the noise.

Plan out your content ideas in advance, using a content calendar if possible to stay organized. Ideas can include fitness tips (keep it simple yet visual), exercise or workout ideas, Live broadcasts, AMAs (Ask Me Anything posts), behind the scenes content and so on.

Social media is truly the space where you can project your expertise and set yourself up as an industry thought leader.

But the most important aspect of your content is that it reflects you. People can’t connect with you if you’re hiding behind a brand or pretending to be anything other than who you are.

Then, commit to a publishing frequency that works for you. You can also increase it if needed.

Yes, email marketing is a thing

Assuming that email is a marketing tool of the past? Think again.

In fact, we have 48 email marketing statistics that show this method is alive and well. Plus, the benefits are undeniable. Email marketing is affordable, easy to do and measurable.

Whether you’re creating and sending out a weekly email newsletter with fitness content or something else, you can start collecting email addresses even without a website (although a website can be very helpful).

If you do have a website, check out our 12 strategies to capture more email leads without annoying your visitors

Remember that you want to offer value in every email you send. That could be educational content or even promotional content (such as a limited-time discount).

See the anatomy of an effective marketing email so that you can make an impact from the start.

Consider offering premium content

While it might seem counterintuitive to offer premium content for free, it’s a fantastic way to generate client leads and establish yourself as an expert in the fitness industry.

Premium content can include ebooks, whitepapers and so on. It typically features a deeper dive into a topic and is of high value to your target audience.

Offering a 30-day nutritional challenge ebook, for example, can be appealing to your target audience, and giving it away as a free download can capture more email leads that you can follow up with.

No matter what, it will only boost your brand’s value.

Feature your credentials

The fitness industry is a crowded field with a lot of competition. Reminding your audience of your certifications and credentials as often as possible will help you stand out.

You’re not just another Instagram face in the crowd. You have real expertise through any number of certifications that you’ve worked hard for. And this knowledge can better help your clients achieve their goals.

Of course, your website can help feature those credentials, but you also can include relevant mentions in your social media content and social media bios.

Get creative! Your expertise (and the perception of which) is built on that foundation.

Have a fitness marketing strategy

Posting inconsistently without a thought-out plan is not going to help you achieve your fitness business goals.

It’s important to sit down and think through:

  • Who am I trying to reach?
  • What platforms are they using?

Then, think about what type of content they’ll find engaging (images, videos, articles, etc.) and what problems or needs you can serve with your content.

Start off slow and simple with your plan and measure everything along the way. What’s working? What’s not? Then, you can use those insights from the data to further inform your plan and overall strategy.

As you get more comfortable, you can add in more frequent content and additional platforms if you like.

As you’re exploring digital marketing for your fitness business, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

Then, consider the strength of your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation capabilities, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Competitive analysis: What it is and how you can start yours

How often do you perform a competitive analysis for your brand?

If the answer is “not often” or “never,” your business is missing out on valuable insights. 

About 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies practice some form of competitive analysis regularly.

A competitive analysis is essentially a strategy where you identify your competitors and research their products/services, sales and marketing strategies. Of course, your analysis can be as simple or as complex as you need to satisfy your goals behind it.

For example, perhaps you’re only interested in how your competitors are approaching the overall design and usability of their websites. Or, you want to evaluate a more broad look at their overall digital marketing strategies.

It all depends on what you’re hoping to discover with each analysis.

Researching your competition can help you:

  • Discover new trends
  • Anticipate shifts in the market
  • Find successful tactics
  • Stay on the cutting edge within your industry

A true (and effective) competitive analysis is more than just surfing the social media accounts of your competition and subscribing to their email lists. The following are seven recommended steps you can take to start your first competitive analysis as it relates to marketing specifically.

Step #1: Identify your competitors

You likely are already aware of your top two or three competitors. But if you’re struggling to fill out a list of six to 12 for the most effective sampling in your competitive analysis, consider searching on Google, Amazon and/or even Alexa for products or services that are similar to yours.

Just make sure that the competitors you choose:

  • Have a similar business premise
  • Sell similar products or services
  • Target similar audience demographics
  • Range from well-established brands to newcomers in the market
  • Are within a relevant geographical location as you (if you are a hyper local business)

The more similar you can find, the more relevant your analysis will be.

Once you’ve identified your competitors, label them either “direct” or “indirect,” where direct competitors offer a product or service that could pass as a similar substitute (like Coca-Cola and Pepsi) and indirect competitors offer products that are not the same but could satisfy the same customer need or solve the same problem (like Walmart and GNC).

This will help you weigh the insights and data you gather in your analysis. While direct competitors are a higher priority, you can still learn a ton from your indirect competitors as well.

Step #2: Create a spreadsheet

Documentation is a must but can be organized in a very customized way, depending on your preferences. There are various tools and templates available online that can help get you started.

However, key pieces of information about your competitors that could include are:

  • Target customers
  • Main “claim to fame” (or market differentiator)
  • Key features or benefits of their products/services
  • Price points for their products/services
  • Website features, which include the design, layout, search tools, imagery and so on
  • Customer experience features, including how customers can check out, overall customer support, any mobile apps and so on
  • Social media approach, such as the platforms used, posting frequency, overall engagement
  • Content marketing tactics, such as blog and/or vlog topics, content types and so on
  • Overall marketing tactics, such as the types of promotions being run, types of discounts (and their frequency) and so on
  • Customer reviews

Again, every competitive analysis can be different, depending on your goal. If certain information is simply not relevant, leave it out.

Step #3: Determine exactly what your competitors offer and at what price

It’s important to understand the range of what is offered by your competitors and at what price (and discount).

During your research, be sure to ask:

  • What is their market share?
  • Are they pricing differently for online versus brick-and-mortar?
  • How are products and/or services distributed?

Because discounts can be at the heart of many marketing campaigns, do your best to nail down how often your competitor runs sales and how much is discounted. On the flip side, rather than a discount, perhaps perks are thrown in from time to time. Either way, it helps to understand the different promos being offered to your potential customers.

Step #4: Evaluate your competition’s overall marketing efforts

Auditing the websites and social media profiles of your competitors is one of the best ways to understand the scope of their marketing efforts.

Questions you should be asking:

  • Do they publish a blog?
  • Do they post videos or webinars?
  • Are they offering premium content, such as whitepapers or eBooks?
  • Do they have a podcast?
  • What sort of visuals are they using? Stock photos? Infographics? Custom content? Something else?
  • Do they have a FAQ section?
  • What about a media kit or case studies?
  • Any online or offline advertising campaigns running?
  • What social media platforms are they using?
  • How are they using social media? Are there different tactics being used on different platforms?
  • How big are their social media followings?
  • Are they responsive on social media? 
  • What coordinated campaigns can you find?

The more you can understand about the scope of their marketing practices, the better. But keep in mind that you’ll never have an “insider perspective” of the overall strategy. However, the benefit of being the outsider is that you’re likely only able to find what any other potential customer can find, and that’s incredibly relevant.

Step #5: Dig deeper into your competitors’ content strategy

Content is like the lifeblood of a marketing strategy. You competitor could be posting a new video every day, but if the quality is lacking, it’s simply not as impactful as it could be.

Take note of:

  • How accurate the content is
  • Any visible bylines (and whether those appear to be in-house or from contributors)
  • Whether spelling or grammar errors can be found
  • How in-depth the content is
  • Any internal or external links being used
  • Any images that are engaging or eye-catching
  • Whether you can identify a singular tone that’s being used. If so, what is it?
  • If content is readable and/or skimmable (easy to digest)
  • Specific keywords being used and how

Step #6: Understand the level of engagement visible on your competition’s content

By getting a sense of the average number of comments, shares and likes (or reactions) on your competition’s content, you’ll see if:

  • Users respond better to certain topics
  • The engagement actions are positive, negative or a mix
  • Certain calls-to-action work better than others
  • The images used help drive engagement

Of course, this research will largely focus on social media platforms, but be sure to check all published content for comment threads and the like.

Step #7: Round out your competitive analysis with a SWOT analysis concurrently

Yes, this basically means you’re doing two analyses at once. But don’t worry. A SWOT analysis is nothing more than a simplified look at your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

In essence, your competitive analysis will result in SWOT takeaways.

Questions to ask:

  • What is your competitor doing well? Any advantages over your brand?
  • Where is the weakest area for your competitor? What advantage does your brand have over the competitor?
  • What could your competitor do better with?
  • In what areas is your competitor a threat?

You can keep this SWOT strictly to marketing strategies or expand to your businesses at large. But the takeaways are something that you can then easily incorporate into your own digital marketing strategy moving forward.

See our Digital Marketing 101 to-do checklist that will help your business.

Once you’ve executed your first competitive analysis, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 ways to market your fitness blog

Whether you’ve already started a fitness blog or are considering it, there’s more to success than just writing and posting.

Blogging itself is definitely a valuable strategy for your fitness business, whether you’re a personal trainer, gym owner or influencer. In fact, about 80 percent of companies that use blogging as a part of their marketing strategy said they acquire customers through their blogging efforts. And about 82 percent of businesses say that blogging is critical to their business success.

But what can you do to ensure the success of your fitness blog (and therefore your business)?

The fitness industry, in general, is full of tons of people and companies offering their take on how to lose weight, live healthier and so on. It’s a noisy arena that you must cut through to find and grow an engaged audience.

First things first

Of course, key considerations to have a quality fitness blog to promote in the first place include:

Understanding your audience

Who are you writing for? What problems or obstacles are they facing? What do they care about?

Determining your niche

A fitness blog that tries to be everything for everyone is going to connect with and engage very few. What is your expertise? If you’re a nutrition expert, for example, what unique angle can you focus on? Meal planning for families? Paleo eating? Something else? Don’t be afraid to get specific. The more uniquely you can leverage your expertise, experience and even personality, the better.

Establishing your target keywords

Once you know the niche you’re pursuing, it’s time to start researching relevant keywords. Don’t get distracted by the most popular keywords. Big websites are already targeting those. Focus on long-tail keywords that might have a lower search volume but also are more easy to rank for. Need help? Check out our list of 11 free keyword research tools.

Committing to a consistent publishing schedule

Inconsistent fitness blogs will struggle to gain traction. Set a schedule that you can stick to. You can make this easier by planning topics ahead of time (i.e. a content calendar). A general rule of thumb is to strive for at least three posts per week, but ultimately, the commitment has to be something you can keep. Feel free to refer to your competition for how often they are posting and use that as a gauge as well.

Quality over quantity

While you should be posting consistently, you also have to be hyper aware of the quality of content you’re offering. In the fitness world specifically, you have to be extra cautious about offering health advice. We recommend that either you’re an expert (with a diploma or certifications) or you focus only on sharing your experiences as they pertain to health and fitness (like how you lost weight, for example). Of course, you can always hire or interview experts as well. With every post, ask yourself: “Am I helping my audience overcome their problem(s)?” The goal is to create content that is as good or better than what’s already available online.

It’s important to take your time on each of the above factors because even the best marketing strategies in the world are only going to take an unengaging, unfocused blog so far. 

The following are six ways that you can market your fitness blog.

Your SEO matters

Great search engine optimization (SEO) will reward your fitness blog with organic website traffic.

There are loosely three types of SEO techniques:

  • Technical SEO, which involves the indexing and crawling settings of your website. It’s about search engines being able to read and index your website properly. Check out our 13 tips to get Google to index your website faster.
  • On-page SEO, which involves making your web pages search-engine friendly. This involves page titles, page descriptions, text formatting, mobile optimization and so on.
  • Off-page SEO, which involves everything that’s happening outside of your website. For example, other sites linking to yours and even social media posts directing users to your fitness blog. Check out our nine tips and tricks to boost your off-page SEO.

Learn more about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO, and see if you’re making any of these 13 common SEO mistakes.

Just remember that great SEO takes time and consistent effort. There are no worthwhile shortcuts that will serve your fitness blog in the long run.

Promote on social media

This method is likely obvious. Most fitness bloggers share their content on social media platforms.

Where to post

The trick is to optimize your presence on the social media platforms you’re already on, prioritize those existing accounts by where your target audience is (and is engaging with you) and decide if there are any platforms you should be on that you aren’t on yet.

(On the flip side, are you wasting your resources on any given social media platform? For example, Twitter isn’t the best platform for every business.)

We can help you determine the best platform(s) for your fitness blog promotion and goals.

How to post

As far as posting, go beyond the simple sharing of links. Identify opportunities to promote your content with visuals, whether they’re eye-catching photos or designed graphics. Canva is a free tool that can help even the self-declared non-designers design compelling images.

Just as you want to be consistent with publishing your fitness blog, you also want to be consistent (and engaged) on your chosen social media platforms. Remember that social media is a space for conversations, not just broadcasting links.

These 11 social media management tools and seven social media automation opportunities can help.

Consider an app

Creating apps for iOS and Android devices is a great alternative way to get your fitness blog discovered. While there’s definitely competition, you’ll find that it’s not as intense as the intense noise you’ll find on the world wide web.

Be sure to connect with a knowledgeable app developer that can best reflect your needs and branding.

Another bonus of this method is that anyone who downloads your app can be notified when new blogs are published.

Email marketing a must

Creating and publishing consistent content naturally leads to the need for establishing an email newsletter that website visitors can subscribe to.

Email marketing is a powerful tool. Simply refer to these 48 statistics.

Treat every email you send as an opportunity to engage with your subscribers and deliver on the promise of value your newsletter offers.

Here’s a breakdown of the anatomy of an effective marketing email. And if you’re in need of building up your subscriber list, here are 12 strategies that will help you capture email addresses without annoying all your website visitors.

Once you solidify your email marketing rhythm, consider any sale opportunities that can be mixed in. Refer to our 14 best practices for email drip campaigns for inspiration.

Look into trust badges

Because of the noise in the fitness content space, any sort of verification you can obtain to reflect the quality of your content will build trust with website visitors (who will be more likely to return if they trust you).

Regarding health and fitness specifically, consider working with Health On The Net, which is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes transparent and reliable health information online.

While trust badges won’t directly grow your fitness blog traffic, they do boost the perceived value of your website and better establish your authority in the fitness industry.

Find out more about the types of trust badges you can embed on your site

Explore what the competition is doing

The best digital marketing strategies are constantly evolving, and the fitness industry changes at an equally fast rate.

Take the time to follow your competition and other thought leaders in the fitness industry. 

How are they promoting themselves and their content? What appears to be working for them? What doesn’t seem to be working? In addition, take note of:

  • Top-ranking websites on Google in your niche
  • The type of content the top sites publish
  • How often new content is published
  • The average length of blog posts
  • What they share on social media (and how they share it)
  • Any multimedia assets used (video, images, etc.) 

This type of competitive analysis will only help inform you on alternative ideas and tactics that can influence your own fitness blog marketing.

Being engaged in your niche industry is a great way to stay on top of trends and continue to be creative with your own blogging.

To more efficiently conduct your competitive analysis, tools like Buzzsumo and Semrush can help.

In conclusion

While you’re looking to better market your fitness blog, consider DailyStory. Our digital marketing platform integrates with MindBody and Rhinofit to better serve fitness studios and gyms and offers such features as SMS text message marketing, email marketing, automation, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

What is social proof? And 9 ways to use it in your digital marketing

When digging deeper into the idea of “social proof,” just remember that humans are definitely pack animals.

Psychologically speaking, humans want to fit in with the rest of the crowd, and this can affect us in many ways, particularly our consumer behavior.

Social proof refers to potential customers assuming that what others are doing is correct based on how often they see those actions. In other words, social proof is about looking to others to figure out the right way to interact in any given situation.

Businesses can leverage positive social proof to influence consumer behavior and generate more sales.

About 91 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online social proof reviews as much as recommendations from someone close to them, while 63 percent of consumers indicated they are more likely to purchase from a website with product ratings and reviews.

Of course, social proof is even more powerful when it comes from someone the potential customer knows. About 82 percent of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase.

The following are nine ways you can use social proof across your digital marketing channels to persuade potential customers and grow your sales.

Highlighting positive reviews

Online reviews might be the first thing you think of when it comes to social proof. You’re definitely not wrong.

Consider Yelp. Are you more likely to try the restaurant with a lot of five-star reviews or the one with none? About 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and consumers often check at least two or three review sites before making a decision about a business.

Be the business they want to try, not the one they want to avoid.

You can do this by paying attention to more than just one review site. In other words, if you’re only focused on Yelp, you’re missing key opportunities. Google, FourSquare, even Facebook are all platforms where reviews can be made and viewed publicly about your business.

Then, highlight any relevant five-star reviews on your website, landing page or even some social media posts, depending. The more you share, the better! Don’t be shy.

To help boost your share of positive reviews, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for a review on their favorite site. This can be done with follow-up emails, signs posted in your business or even links shared on your social media. Keep your ask simple: “Support our small business by sharing your experience with us on Yelp” or whatever review site, for example.

Engaging with negative reviews

Granted, we can’t assume that all reviews will be positive. When encountering a negative review, read it thoroughly and respond. Yes, respond. Do not ignore. Acknowledge the issues or problem your reviewer encountered with your business (no matter how relevant or not). And offer a solution to his or her problem. This can be a gift card, discount or other incentive to come back and give you another shot. And this offer does not have to be worked out in a public back-and-forth. At the right time, you can say that you’ll message them directly to further resolve the problem. But it’s the initial engagement publicly that can help save a negative review from completely preventing a potential customer from considering your business. 

The better you engage with the negative review, the better you will look in the eyes of others. In fact, about 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews in general.

Make sure you know about these eight types of negative SEO while you’re at it.

Sharing customer testimonials

It’s one thing for you to say that your brand is the best. It’s something entirely different when people outside of your brand say that you’re the best.

About 92 percent of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising.

Testimonials are positive experiences and/or anecdotes from customers who have used your product or service. They help establish credibility for your brand.

Be sure to regularly solicit happy customers for testimonials that you can update your website with and/or share in social media posts. Encourage them to be specific about the product or service they used, the problem it helped them solve and even how they felt before they came to you and after.

You can make the process even easier by including a Google Form (or another embedded form on your website). 

Partnering with celebrities, influencers

Influencer marketing has only been growing in recent years, and it’s easy to see why, especially when considering social proof. Consumers clearly trust public opinion more than brands themselves, so the word of people with influence falls into that category as well.

In fact, content from influencers generates more than 8 times the engagement rate of content shared directly by brands.

The key is that you identify an influencer who is relevant to your industry and jives with your brand.

Dig into these seven tips you should know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Onboarding brand ambassadors

Similar to influencers, you can recruit brand ambassadors, which are essentially brand evangelists and loyalists who will promote your brand to their networks. Brand ambassadors can range between average people who love your company to micro-influencers with some clout online.

This type of program can be managed in a range of ways, where you can offer anything from commission to discounts to branded swag.

The appeal here is that brand ambassadors can humanize your brand even further. Just remember that brand ambassadors can be an easy avenue of getting more user-generated content (UGC) that features or includes your product out on various online channels. UGC can definitely play into social proof by piquing the interest of the potential customers it reaches.

Growing your social media following

First things first, we don’t want you to fall into a rabbit hole of obsession with growing your followers on social media. It’s just not the ultimate measure of success that some brands think it is. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the size of your following can be a type of social proof. It’s that herd mentality again. When a consumer sees a large number of people doing (or following) something, they’re more likely to try it, too.

Resist the temptation to buy a ton of fake followers. This practice will never serve you in the long run. Social media success thrives on authenticity, and creating the illusion of social proof is exactly the opposite. Focus, instead, on sharing engaging content and building a genuine social media following.

Leveraging your customer count

If you have an established customer base, it’s worth considering leveraging those numbers as social proof. Whether it’s customers, subscribers or any other type of consumer who is using your product or service, sharing that will help show that your brand is valuable and trusted.

Think about how McDonald’s says “Over 9 billion served” on its signs. But this can be done on your website and/or social media profiles as well.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to simply boast about your numbers. Make it an invitation: “Join our 500,000 satisfied customers,” for example. It gives a feeling of belonging to consumers.

A slightly different angle on this front is leveraging any of the big-name customers you might have. You can do this by highlighting their logos on your website. Just make sure that you’re highlighting the brands that your audience will recognize.

Showcasing any awards, recognition

Awards and recognition aren’t just great types of social proof, they also act as evidence that your brand is, in fact, trustworthy. There’s a validation there because they come from a third party. 

Beyond just listing awards your brand has won, you can use award logos embedded on your website and even feature the logos of websites your brand has been mentioned on.

Again, it lends to your credibility.

Creating a blog

Before you think, “Not another blog,” remember that blogs are a great way to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

The idea is to offer potential customers with insightful, problem-solving and actionable content. Tying this content into your products or services is great, but keep that approach in balance.

Showcasing your value to your audience is more important than getting yet another sales plug in. In the end, you’re ultimately creating and sharing content to build up your trustworthiness in the eyes of potential customers. It’s less about the hard sale.

Check out these seven tips to level up your content marketing.

Be aware of social shares

Adding social media share buttons next to various content on your website can sound like a great type of social proof. And it can be.

But if your social shares are typically low, this can actually backfire on you.

Website visitors seeing only a handful of shares can give them the impression that your content isn’t very valuable.

So, before using this approach, do an audit on your average amount of social shares. If it’s typically a high number, then the social share buttons are worth including to boost your social proof.

While you’re boosting your social proof, consider improving your digital marketing process with DailyStory. Features include automation and dynamic audience segmentation. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Struggling with marketing content? 7 tips to beat writer’s block

Beyond just writing, the goal of copywriting aims to create engaging marketing content that persuades your audience to take action. So, when you’re experiencing writer’s block, it can impact the success of your business. 

No pressure, right? 

Writer’s block is often referred to as the inability to form words, and there are entire scientific studies behind it.

Fortunately, the following are seven tips to help beat writer’s block so that you can effectively represent your brand, engage your audience and help grow lead conversions.

Maintain a content calendar

If your writer’s block centers on the lack of ideas for the content itself, creating or maintaining a content calendar can help you keep the momentum going. 

It’s all about having a plan.

If you’re just starting out with a content calendar, aim to plan out one month ahead at a time. You can make note of both national holidays and social media “holidays” (like National Puppy Day) that are relevant to your brand and your audience. Look ahead for any other events or product launches as well. Then, you can start brainstorming content around these events, holidays and so on. 

Once you get comfortable with maintaining your calendar one month out at a time, you can start increasing it. Ideally, the further out you can plan, the better. That way, you won’t find yourself in a day-to-day rut trying to figure out what kind of content you should be creating each day.

See our eight tips for creating and maintaining a content calendar.

Keep a backup list of ideas

As great as advanced planning can be, it’s always possible to not be inspired by the topic you originally planned to write about. Or, perhaps the topic no longer works for when you planned it.

That’s OK!

As you plan out your content calendar, be sure to maintain a list of the ideas that don’t make it onto your calendar. Think about your target audience. What problems are they facing? How can you help them overcome those problems?

This can be a great resource of back pocket options to potentially inspire you when you do hit that writer’s block.

Lean on your colleagues

Brainstorming alone can get difficult and (honestly) a little soul-draining at times. If you’re looking for some inspiration, ask a colleague to brainstorm ideas with you.

Better yet, pull in your team.

Group brainstorming sessions can bring up ideas that might have never happened on your own. Just make sure to document all the ideas flying around. Even though they aren’t all going to make it onto your content calendar, they could easily end up on your backup list of ideas for reference later.

Revisit past content to defeat writer’s block

Just because you’ve covered a particular topic before doesn’t mean that you can’t revisit the topic in a new or more in-depth way.

Remember that you can easily break up various angles of a topic across different and separate pieces of content.

For example, if you have a past list of tips, is there one tip that you can spin off with? The possibilities are endless.

And of course, for an SEO (search engine optimization boost), be sure to link related pieces of content to each other. While you’re thinking about your SEO, see if you’re making any of these 13 common SEO mistakes.

Don’t just write … read

Any good copywriter isn’t just writing constantly but reading, too! 

It doesn’t matter what:

  • Industry-related publications
  • Various blogs
  • Your competitors’ content
  • Local or national news

Doing so regularly will naturally inspire you with topics that will likely be relevant to your audience. Always record those ideas as soon as you have them, whether you’re in planning mode or not.

Write out of order

In the simplest sense, know that you never have to write the first sentence first. Whether you start in the middle, with the conclusion or whatever aspect is inspiring you, you do not have to write in order.

Sometimes, even just roughing out a loose outline first can help funnel your thoughts.

Mix up your approach

If you have all the right ideas, but the words still aren’t flowing, try mixing up your approach to beat writer’s block.

You can work in a different place, at a different time, for different lengths of time and so on.

In fact, simply taking breaks and doing something else briefly can make a world of difference as well. A break might sound counterintuitive if you’re on a deadline, but think about how much time is wasted when you’re facing writer’s block. A break of any kind doing something else can be just what you need.

Beating writer’s block will help you reconnect to your audience and boost your brand’s presence, so be patient with yourself and work through your process.

Take your content to the next level with these seven content marketing tips.

Then, consider leveling up your digital marketing process with DailyStory, which features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

9 FOMO techniques you can use in your digital marketing

While the term “FOMO” might be new to you (or not), using “the fear of missing out” is nothing new to effective digital marketing strategies.

It’s about leveraging the fear we all have of losing out on amazing opportunities, experiences and so on, no matter what they might be.

FOMO taps into our human nature. As a species, we are typically risk-averse, especially when it comes to our purchases. We don’t want to spend money on a product or service that doesn’t measure up to our standards and expectations.

However, on the flip side, it’s this same risk-avoidance tendency that leads to the possibility of regret in the future for not having taken an opportunity.

For example, you could be browsing a shoe website and spot a pair of boots that piques your interest. After some browsing of the product description and customer reviews, you move on. But you later see an ad for those same boots, except this time, it appears with a limited-time discount. This is exactly what could trigger your FOMO about this product and can potentially persuade you to finally make the purchase.

With the right FOMO techniques, such as the following nine, you can further persuade your audience to jump on the opportunities you’re offering.

Your messaging matters

Always look at your messaging and ask yourself if there is a sense of urgency.

Strong verbs and an active voice are important components of this. Think:

  • Time’s running out
  • Last chance to buy
  • Don’t miss this

It’s about persuading your potential customers to act now, not later.

Set time limits

Deadlines naturally put pressure on all of us. Setting a time limit for the availability of a product or a particular sale is critical for many consumers to finally act (even if somewhat impulsively).

Just make sure that your deadline is absolute. While the occasional extension can be effective, doing so too often will dilute the effectiveness of all of your time limits. Your audience will simply get used to your extensions.

Consider using a countdown clock on your social media, website, so on to instill that looming deadline for your offer.

Share social proof

Social proof essentially boils down to sharing what other customers think of your product or service or simply how others are purchasing from you.

Testimonials appearing not just on your social media but along the purchasing journey on your website is a common tactic for social proof.

It’s the idea that if others are trusting your brand and having a great experience, you could miss out by not making that purchase, too. This makes consumers more likely to purchase from you.

Find out more about social proof and nine ways you can use it in your digital marketing.

In addition, there are several social proof tools, such as True or TrustPulse, that can integrate with your website and show visitors stats like how many people have purchased a particular product on your site, for example, etc.

Work with influencers when possible

Nothing quite induces FOMO like a celebrity or influencer endorsement. So, even simply featuring a quote from one can help boost your sales. 

Consumers have a range of trust when it comes to celebrities, no matter how big or small. Once you have an influencer endorsement, be sure to share it across channels, including your website.

Find out what you should know before diving into influencer marketing (or even any influencer partnerships).

Use user-generated content

While celebrities and influencers can be great, regular people can be even more trustworthy to your audience.

About 55 percent of consumers trust UGC (user-generated content) more than other forms of marketing.

Why not leverage that by soliciting photos and/or videos of happy customers using your product in some way? 

You can run a UGC contest with a prize. It can be an organic hashtag campaign, where you seed the hashtag with some great content of your own to get the ball rolling for your users.

For example, jewelry company Iz&Co (@izandco on Instagram) shares images of clients’ personal stories (such as weddings and proposals) in addition to their more branded content.

Create bundle opportunities

What’s better than purchasing one product you’re excited about? Getting another one (or two) with it at a discounted price, of course.

Bundles are a great way to take a selection of your products or services and offer them at a discounted price. The complementary items are something that can create FOMO for the consumer. 

It’s also a way to upsell your potential customers.

Play your social media channels against each other

Your audience on Facebook likely differs from your followers on Twitter, and so on. 

But you can leverage FOMO here strategically by broadcasting that a special behind-the-scenes video, for example, will only be shared via your Instagram Story on your other platforms.

The FOMO from this cross-posting tactic could lead some of your followers to follow you on other platforms as well. 

Just be sure to spread the love around. You don’t always want to make big announcements on your Twitter, for example, and then leave the crumbs for your Instagram audience.

Learn what social media platform would be best for your company.

Of course, this could apply to app-only deals as well.

Leverage competition

Nothing can create FOMO more than the possibility of limited inventory. And someone else getting a product or service instead of you, of course.

You’ve likely noticed websites that say “only 1 left in stock” or that this hotel was “booked 3 times in the past hour.” 

Giving the sense that someone else could get what you might want can help drive FOMO and your ultimate decision to purchase.

Consider an exit-intent pop-up

Just as you’re about to lose that possibly interested consumer, an exit-intent pop-up could make the difference between disappearance and a purchase.

An exit-intent pop-up is a pop-up window that appears as a website visitor goes to close the tab or browser (that particular movement of the mouse).

It’s your last chance to make that conversion, so whether it’s a surprise discount offer or some other offer, it must be irresistible.

Check out our 18 exit-intent tips that can help.

In conclusion

While FOMO techniques can help boost your sales, it’s important to always be honest with your audience. Share offers that will resonate with them.

As soon as you’re deceitful about anything, your audience is going to catch on and (worst yet) tune your brand out.

Speaking of FOMO, don’t miss out on leveling up your digital marketing process. Consider DailyStory, with such features as automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

And check out our all-inclusive Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners!

12 expert tips to optimize your Facebook business page

Considered the world’s biggest social network, Facebook likely already has some of your attention, one way or another. And, if you have a business, it’s important you optimize your Facebook business page to its full potential.

Check out our six tips to boost your marketing on Facebook.

Why you need a Facebook business page

About two-thirds of adults in the U.S. say that they are Facebook users, according to Pew Research Center, and about 74 percent of Facebook users visit the platform daily.

And to be considered relevant these days, every business must at least consider an active Facebook business page. Beyond just relevancy, though, a Facebook business page can help your business promote and/or share its services or products and engage in effective customer support. In addition, social media accounts do rank fairly high on search engine result pages. In other words, your social media presence can boost your search engine optimization (SEO).

A Facebook page can be considered your “micro-site” within the platform that highlights your business and shares various details with users.

Be sure to check out our snapshot of the challenges and opportunities of Facebook for small businesses as you’re optimizing your Facebook business Page.

The following are 12 tips to optimize your Facebook page and grow your business on “the social network.”

Choose the correct Facebook business page type

When creating your Facebook business page, you’re asked what type of page applies best to your business and purpose.

It’s important to choose wisely:

  • Local business or place (Only pick this category if you have a physical location address. Don’t worry if you have multiple locations or more locations in the future.)
  • Company
  • Brand or product
  • Public figure
  • Entertainment
  • Cause or community

Change your Facebook business page type

For the right messaging, it’s key to set up your page correctly from the start. However, if you’ve already created your Facebook page (or someone else did) and it’s not the right category, here’s how you can fix it:

  • Navigate to your Facebook page
  • Click “Edit Page Info” on the left side of your page
  • Next to “Categories,” you’ll be able to select an option from the dropdown list
  • Click “Save Changes”

Branch out with Location Pages (if applicable)

If your business doesn’t have multiple locations, you can skip this tip.

But if it does (or will), read on.

Think of Facebook Location Pages as the ability to set a “parent-child” page relationship for your business. Your main Facebook business page should be the “parent” for your brand, while the “child” pages are the location pages for your multiple locations.

Franchise Facebook location page example

As a simple example, consider the franchise business McDonald’s (and assume it only has three locations for the purpose of this example). There would be the main McDonald’s Facebook page and then three separate location pages for each of its physical locations. 

This relationship means that you can post content to your main page that then automatically filters down to your location pages. It also means that users can interact with your location pages separately by checking in, giving you a rating, posting reviews and so on. And, of course, a location page can share its own content in addition to whatever is filtering down from the main page.

Find out more about how to set up location pages on Facebook.

Create a unique username for your page

A custom username for your Facebook business page helps users find your page (and tag it in posts) more easily. It also will give you a shorter and cleaner-looking URL.

So, instead of a “facebook.com” followed by miscellaneous numbers and more, it can simply be your brand name at the end.

Of course, you’ll want to keep your brand name in mind when creating your unique username. If your preferred username is already taken (which is always possible), consider slight variations, such as adding “the,” “co,” “inc” or other relevant options. Do your best to keep your username as consistent as possible across social media platforms.

Example Facebook page variations

Other Facebook page username variations include (but are not limited to):

  • You must be an admin to create a username.
  • Spaces or underscores are unavailable to use, but you can have periods separating words.
  • Capitalizing any words to enhance readability won’t have an impact if users type lowercase letters to find you.
  • Usernames must be between five and 50 characters.

Find out more about creating a custom Facebook page username.

Maintain an ‘SEO mindset’ when optimizing your Facebook business page

As we’ve already mentioned, active social media profiles rank well in search engine queries

Therefore, it’s only in your best interest to include relevant keywords throughout your Facebook page. The keywords that matter for your website should matter on your page. 

Don’t overdo it, though. Just like on your website, you want to consider the user experience first. Keyword dumping not only makes for an awkward (and ineffective) first impression, search engines often catch and flag such practices.

Fill out your page information fields

Sometimes, in the haste of creating a Facebook business page, a few (or many) relevant page information fields may go overlooked. The “About” section includes such information as your page name, description, categories, contact information, location and operating business hours. 

Every field matters and should be filled out in a thoughtful manner. Remember, this is your opportunity to maximize the SEO value of your Facebook page and provide added value for your visitors as well.

When it comes to your operating hours, keep in mind that while Google My Business will allow you to set custom hours for holidays, Facebook does not. If you have special hours to communicate to your audience, be sure to post and/or advertise those separately on your Facebook page.

Go beyond the traditional cover photo

Cover photos have long been a fixture of Facebook page features. But now, you can go beyond the traditional image.

You can treat the top spot on your Facebook business page as a featured photo section by clicking on the “Edit” button and then “Edit Slideshow.” You also have the opportunity to upload a video to share even more about your brand with Facebook users.

Cover photos display at 820 by 312 pixels on computers and 640 by 360 pixels on smartphones. Any cover video should be at least 1250 by 312 pixels and between 20 and 90 seconds long.

There are still Facebook guidelines to follow, however, so be sure to review them.

Use the call-to-action button on your Facebook business page

The call-to-action button can enable users to easily interact with you, help them learn more about your business and so on.

Because there are a number of options to use this button for, consider your goals, what might make the most sense for your business and what users most likely would want or need to do when they visit your Facebook business page.

If you’re looking to increase website traffic, the best option is likely the “Learn More” button linking to your website homepage.

Generate leads from your Facebook page

For lead generation, consider using the “Sign Up” button to link to a webinar sign-up page.

Review all the options and see what fits best, and remember that you can change your CTA button whenever your goal or intention changes.

To edit your CTA button, click on it when you’re signed in. Then, “edit button.” You can select the preferred action from a list. You’ll be able to monitor the activity it generates in Facebook Insights.

Activate reviews for your Facebook business page

Engagement and real-time feedback are critical components to all social media. But before you blindly turn on the review section of your Facebook page, be advised that you should consider and plan an entire review strategy:

  • What should you do if you receive a negative review? How should you respond?
  • How about a positive review?

Know what your plan is and then definitely feel empowered to go for it. To do this, go to your Facebook business page, click on “Settings” and then under “General,” click on “Reviews.” You can then “allow visitors to review this page.” 

Of course, if you’re not ready, be sure to “disable reviews” until you are. 

Just remember that reviews are a great way to gather testimonials and highlight the value of your business.

Embrace Messenger on your Facebook business page

Facebook Messenger is a valuable customer service tool. However, just like reviews, you should have a strategy in place on how quickly you can respond and how you should respond to incoming messages.

Your responsiveness rate will appear on your page and shows users how efficient you are at responding to messages. 

Of course, there are Messenger bots that can be used to help with the most basic of inquiries

To activate Messenger for your page, click on “Settings.” Under “General,” click on “Messages” and then click on the button that says “allow people to contact my page privately by showing the message button.”

Organize your page tabs

This is an easy optimization to overlook, but it’s worth doing. Depending on your business, some of the available Facebook page tabs might be more of a priority for your business.

Facebook offers some templates that can help suggest a relevant arrangement of tabs. Under “Settings” and then “Edit Page,” you’ll see the various templates. You can also drag the tabs into a custom order that you prefer.

Claim any unofficial pages

If you search for your brand’s name and find other pages that appear to be your brand but aren’t yours, these are often unofficial, automatically created pages.

Fortunately, this is a solvable problem.

Facebook creates automatic pages almost as a placeholder, which gives visitors an opportunity to check in and post reviews and/or comments about the location. This can happen before or after you create your own page.

To solve for the existence of an unofficial page, you can claim the page and even merge it with yours if you want. The key is that you verify your main Facebook page.

Verify ownership of an unofficial Facebook business page

You can do this by:

  • Phone call
  • Email
  • Utility or phone bill
  • Business license
  • Business tax file
  • Certificate of formation
  • Articles of incorporation

Once the page is verified (usually within 24 hours), you can navigate to the unofficial duplicate page, select “Is this your business?” from the drop-down menu. Choose “Merge into a verified page you manage.” Then, select your page from the drop-down menu and submit.

Because unofficial pages can pop up from time to time, it’s a best practice to regularly check for them.

Review your Facebook Insights

Monitoring your Facebook metrics and understanding what’s working on your Facebook page (and what’s not) plays a big role in continuing to optimize your page and your content as your brand, audience or even Facebook itself evolves.

Keep it simple but consistent when reviewing your page’s performance. Set at least one time a week to review and determine if anything needs to change about your strategy.

Conclusion

Regardless of the time and effort you invest into your Facebook business page and overall presence, it is not an adequate substitute for your own website. Think of it this way: If Facebook was shut down tomorrow, where could you be found online? Or, in a more realistic sense, what if you were reported and banned on Facebook? Always make sure that you exist on a platform that you own and control (such as your own website).

See the 13 biggest mistakes businesses make on Facebook (and how to avoid them).

Now that you have your Facebook page working for you and not against you, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. Consider DailyStory, with such features as automation and audience segmentation. Schedule your free demo with us today.

What happens if subscribers mark your emails as spam?

No one’s goal of any email marketing campaign would be to end up as spam.

But what happens if your emails DO get marked as spam?

Spam complaints are when an email recipient clicks on the “spam” button within their mailbox provider interface for any particular message. They can happen within an email inbox on any device. These complaints ultimately affect your deliverability as well as your sender reputation.

Because a spam complaint is a mailbox provider option rather than part of the email that you sent (like an unsubscribe link), that information is not automatically fed back to you, the sender.

Feedback loops

In order to get a sense of spam complaints tied to your emails, you need to be part of a feedback loop.

Feedback loops are emails that let senders know which of their recipients complained about their emails. These notification emails can be delivered to an email address of your choosing.

The downside is that not all mailbox providers use them. The ones that do include (but are not entirely limited to):

  • Hotmail
  • Yahoo
  • AOL
  • Comcast
  • Cox
  • Zoho.com
  • Fastmail

The big question you’re likely thinking is: What about Gmail? Gmail does operate a slightly different version of a feedback loop system that is somewhat limited. Instead of sending information based on email addresses, Gmail will send an aggregate report about a particular email campaign that performed poorly in regard to spam complaints.

Next steps for spam complaints

The key is that you make sure to register to receive feedback loops from mailbox providers. Once you are, monitor all reports of spam complaints. As you see email addresses that complain, move them to a suppression list so that you no longer email them. Of course, you can automate this process.

If you do not add these complaining email addresses to a suppression list, you risk having subsequent emails go to those recipients’ spam folders. The more that happens, the more hits your sender reputation will take.

If you’re seeing an uptick in spam complaints, there are several things you can do to help your inbox placement rate and hopefully showing more value to your subscribers to prevent those complaints.

In addition, consider making your unsubscribe link more obvious and clear. This might sound counter-intuitive, but think about it this way: If an email recipient doesn’t see the value in your messages, they’re already less likely to engage in the way you would like.

Granted, you can reconfigure your content strategy and focus on creating more effective marketing emails.

But in the end, just remember that it’s actually better to have some recipients unsubscribe than to complain.

Learn more about inbox placement and avoiding the junk folder. Plus, you’ll want to keep an eye on your bounce rate as well.

As you’re evaluating the effectiveness of your email campaigns, consider DailyStory. We can help overhaul your entire digital marketing process with automations, audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 expert tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts

It’s one thing to convert website visitors to email subscribers. It’s another to convert those subscribers into paying customers.

That’s what makes an effective email onboarding sequence so critical to your sales efforts.

An email onboarding sequence is a series of emails intended to deepen the relationship they have with your brand, show them how to make the most out of your product or service and/or get them to use your product or service as much as possible.

A recent study found that about 80 percent of marketers have reported increases in email engagement, while the ROI of email marketing has increased to $55 for every $1 spent on it.

With effective email onboarding, you can increase your customer lifetime value by about 500 percent.

And email marketing in general boasts a high ROI when used strategically.

Onboarding is about nurturing your email recipient with valuable information that builds a trusting relationship and guides them to decide to purchase a product or service from you. It can’t be forced (and there is an art to it), but there are several best practices that can help boost your conversion rate.

The good news is that your subscribers are already interested enough to give you their email addresses in exchange for engaging content and/or more information. (Check out these six ways to collect email addresses without a website.)

You can dive deeper into email drip campaigns (with examples) for further inspiration.

The following are eight expert tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts leads into paying customers.

Begin with a confirmation email

It might sound simple enough, but you’ll want to verify that every new subscriber is a real person with a legitimate email address.

A concise confirmation email can do just that. The email is sent immediately with a link requesting the recipient verify his or her email address by clicking.

While most will likely confirm right away, you’ll want to include a follow-up confirmation email for anyone who fails to do so.

Of course, when it comes to confirmation emails, the simpler and more direct the better. Focus on a clear call-to-action, which asks the recipient to click to confirm his or her email address.

Seize the welcome email opportunity

This is the first official step (and possibly the most important) of the email onboarding sequence.

It’s your opportunity to make a strong first impression and show your subscribers why they should open future emails from you.

Consider taking the approach of offering guidance and expressing your appreciation for their subscription. Remember, this is about starting to build a relationship. Treat it that way.

Consider multiple sequences

Logic and thinking through engagement scenarios is critical for effective email onboarding sequences. Not all subscribers are going to engage with your business in the same way or even engage with your emails in the same way.

You’ll want to segment your audience to account for these differences so that you’re sending the right messages to the right people at the right time.

Different actions they take (like making a purchase) or actions they don’t take (like failing to open an email) should trigger different sequences.

Personalization helps

Personalizing your email onboarding sequence can increase both your open rates and click-through rates. It can also boost the overall user experience with your emails.

However, the trick to personalization (like including the subscriber’s first name in the subject line of your email) requires data about your audience.

Email addresses alone won’t cut it.

Look at including additional fields to collect more data, such as name, city, age and/or any other information that can help you better personalize your messages.

You also could include a “complete your profile” email in your onboarding sequence as a call-to-action to obtain more data about your subscribers. You can even include an incentive, such as a discount code, to encourage subscribers to do so.

Think mobile first

About 46 percent of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Therefore, mobile optimization for your email onboarding sequence is critical.

Tactics that can help you optimize your emails for mobile include (but are not limited to):

  • Use a responsive email template that automatically resize across devices and screen sizes.
  • Choose simple images that are a smaller file size, which will load more quickly.
  • Keep the character count in your subject line as short as possible since most mobile devices only show so much.

Focus everything around your call-to-action

Setting and achieving goals with your onboarding emails comes down to using the right CTAs at the right time while focusing each email on that CTA.

It’s common to be tempted to stuff too much into any one email. 

Remember who you’re writing to. More than ever, you’re writing for subscribers who often skim more than read.

Time is a valuable resource. No one will feel the need to invest a lot of time reading a long, unfocused email. An email with more than one CTA can also lead to confusion and a loss of subscriber engagement.

Focus your content on capturing the attention of your subscribers and then incentivizing them to take a specific action.

Engaging. Direct. Incentivized. 

Don’t overthink it. Pair your CTA with the right visuals, but the simpler the better.

Think through valuable content for your subscribers

Whether your sequence is educating your subscribers with tips, showing them how to best use your product, sharing how they can get the most out of your service or something else, your content has to be just as well-thought-out as your CTA.

This can include, for example:

  • Video tutorials
  • Freebies, like an ebook or webinar
  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Q&A with industry-related experts

Whatever the specific content thread, map out each sequence. Then, balance out the anticipated actions that your subscribers could do so that you can meet them where they are every step of the way.

Test as much as possible

Email onboarding sequences shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Testing will help you best understand what will work best with your subscribers.

One way to do this is with A/B testing. It’s about showing two variants of any particular element to different segments of your audience at the same time. You then compare which variant is more successful. A/B testing is also known as split testing.

Check out our nine tips to help you get the most out of your A/B testing efforts.

Plus, you can level up your email marketing skills with any of these eight online courses.

While you’re thinking through your possible email onboarding sequences, consider using DailyStory to optimize your digital marketing process with automations, audience segmentation and more. See more about how we can help, and schedule your free demo today.

9 tips and tricks to boost your off-page SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to a website’s organic traffic.

But not all SEO is the same.

There are different types of SEO, with on-page and off-page being the two categories in terms of tactics.

Off-page SEO refers to all the things you can do outside your website to help improve your search engine ranking results, while on-page SEO refers to everything tied to your website directly.

Related: Find out more about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO or check out Chrome extensions for SEO.

The following are nine tips and tricks to help improve your off-page SEO and increase your relevancy in the eyes of search engines.

Reach out to influencers

Whether you’re creating content in the form of a website blog, a YouTube channel or another format, it’s important to seize the opportunity to reach out to relevant, well-known influencers in your industry and ask for their feedback, review or more.

Of course, reaching out before you publish gives you the opportunity to incorporate them or their thoughts in your content. Reaching out afterward can still be fruitful, though. If the content is relevant to them, they might share it with their networks or engage with it in another way.

We recommend you go beyond just tagging the influencer in the post. It’s fine to do, but consider that you’re likely not the only one doing it. Go that extra mile and directly message or contact them via email or even the phone. Start the conversation like you’re starting a new relationship. Hint: Because you are. Don’t just start off by asking for what you need and leave it at that. Consider what you can offer to them and how a relationship would benefit you both. More than anything, be a human when you reach out.  

Find out more about influencers and influencer marketing.

Embrace social media

At this point, the importance of social media likely is a reality versus an arguing point for most brands.

Choosing the social media platforms that make sense for your brand, the type of content you’ll be sharing and the audience you want to engage with is just the first step. You’ll also want to develop a full strategy where you decide frequency, timing and the specific content tied to each post.

Remember that social media includes more than just Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There’s also YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch and more to choose from.

Dig deeper into what social media platform is right for your company.

The more social media users who engage with and click through to your shared content, the better it is for your off-page SEO. 

Google pays more attention to social media platforms than some might assume.

Encourage brand mentions

In the simplest of terms, brand mentions refer to people across the internet talking about your brand. While this typically involves traditional social media platforms, it doesn’t have to. It could be mentions in forums, blog articles and so on.

These mentions signal to search engines that people are interested in you.

Obviously, you can’t force quality brand mentions. However, you can actively engage with social media audiences across platforms. Meaningful interactions grow your online trustworthiness and branding organically.

Invest time in social bookmarking platforms

Similar to traditional social media, there are several websites that would more accurately be categorized as “social bookmarking” in their purpose.

Think Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon, among others. It’s a place for communities to share links and discuss topics.

While success can be an instant boost to your website traffic (and a good off-page SEO signal), some effort is required.

For instance, Reddit is guarded against potential “link dumpers,” whom are considered to be spam-like in their effort to post links without engaging in any conversations. 

A good rule of thumb is to be a true user of these sites before you post your first link. Reply to comments with your thoughts. Ask questions. In other words, (again) be human. Then, when you do post your first link, it’s seen as coming from a community member, not an “outsider” trying to get clicks. Then, balance each time you post a link with at least 10 times that you’re just commenting and replying without any links. That balance will keep you in good favor of those communities.

Commenting on blogs

While commenting on another website’s blog will no longer give you more backlinks, that doesn’t mean that there is no value to commenting in general.

As long as you’re commenting in a relevant way and engaging the right audience, you’ll ultimately build a relationship with that website and other commenters.

Again, it’s about interaction with others in meaningful ways.

Dive deeper into content marketing.

Participate in forums

Forums are still a viable platform where you can find and engage with others who could be interested ultimately in your products and/or services.

Locating forums that are related to your expertise and then offering advice or helping to solve problems is a great signal to Google, which loves discussions. There also are question-and-answer-specific websites, such as Quora.

Depending on the forum, make sure that you complete your profile appropriately in addition to including an anchor in the signature. That means that whenever you comment, the signature displays with your anchor.

Also consider looking for forums that offer “do-follow” links, which are a signal to search engines.

Guest blog on other websites

If you’ve never done it before, guest authoring on other websites is easier to achieve than you might assume.

Try a few of these Google searches to find potential opportunities for you and your brand, where you include a relevant keyword and:

  • “Contribute”
  • “Guest blogging”
  • “Write for us”
  • “Become a contributor”

Then you can reach out and apply. Just remember to include a link in your author bio that goes back to your website. This is more a signal to search engines (in the sense of backlinking), but it can also throw some referral traffic your way as well.

Focus on backlinks

This method of off-page SEO is considered fairly critical to improving your search engine ranking. However, it’s definitely about quality over quantity.

Backlinks are when other websites link to pages on your website. The more this happens (especially from trusted, highly visited websites), the more trustworthy your website appears to Google.

From seeking out broken backlinks on other websites so that you can suggest your own as a replacement to guest blogging (like we suggested above), there are a number of ways you can help grow your backlinks. Check out our seven specific tips.

Send email newsletters

Having a weekly (or other timing frequency) email newsletter not only packages your best content and delivers it to an engaged audience of subscribers, but it also can help encourage those subscribers to click on links and visit your website regularly.

This, as we definitely know by now, is a good signal to search engines. 

Remember to keep your newsletters clean and direct in their design and content. Give the recipients a reason to click on your links. In other words, don’t give away the entirety of your content in the email newsletter. The reader should want to find out more.

See our eight tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts.

While you’re improving your off-page SEO, consider what your digital marketing process could be doing for you. DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Got Twitter? 8 expert tips to help you market your business better

While Twitter is a powerful social media platform, it’s easy for your business to get lost in the “noise.”

But it’s worth cutting through and getting your message heard. It’s important to stand out.

The average Twitter user follows at least five businesses, and about 80 percent of all Twitter users have mentioned a brand in a tweet.

Dig deeper into the challenges and opportunities of Twitter for your business.

The following are eight expert tips to help you market your business more effectively on Twitter.

Audit your Twitter account

To know where you want to go, you have to understand where you currently are. Auditing your Twitter account is not only important to do, it’s something you should do regularly.

As you’re examining your account, ask these questions:

  • What types of content are we posting?
  • What’s successful?
  • What isn’t working?
  • Is our posting consistent?
  • Who is our audience?
  • When are our followers active?
  • Are we seeing a return of investment (ROI)?
  • What can we do to improve our Twitter presence?

Many of these answers can be found in your Twitter Analytics. Check out our snapshot to help you navigate Twitter Analytics.

Pay particular attention to your audience and who they are. This is critical to determining the content that will work best for your brand on Twitter.

Research your competition

As you’re getting a sense of what’s happening on your Twitter account, it’s worthwhile to evaluate what you’re competition is doing as well.

This will help inform your own Twitter strategy.

As you’re researching, ask these questions:

  • What are they doing that you should be doing? Or can do better?
  • What isn’t working for them?
  • How do they handle customer service?
  • How often are they posting?
  • Are their followers engaging with them? How?

Dive deeper into what comprises a competitive analysis and how to start your own.

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

Unsurprisingly, to know whether you’re successful in any marketing effort relies on the goals you set in the beginning.

Goals help us focus on what we want to achieve while also helping know when we need to pivot our strategy (because we’ll know if it’s working or not).

S.M.A.R.T. goals specifically are: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

While you’re setting these goals, remember to break them down into measurable indicators so that you can easily grasp where you’re at in your efforts.

Maybe you want to drive more referral traffic from Twitter to your website. Understand where you’re at now, identify where you want to be (within reason) and set a deadline to get there. Once you’ve added some actions that will help you get there, you’re well on your way to outlining a Twitter strategy for your business.

Dive deeper (and beyond Twitter) with our seven tips for setting achievable marketing goals for your business.

Create a set of guidelines

A lot can go wrong on social media. Creating a social media style guide will help keep your communications clear, consistent and representative of your brand at all times.

These guidelines, which span beyond just Twitter, also help you onboard new team members more easily.

Be sure to include:

  • Elements of your overall brand, such as tone
  • Details about your audience
  • Branded hashtags, including how and when to use them
  • How and when to use emojis (and which emojis)
  • How to format links

The key is to be ready for anything. And should the true unpredictable happen, include a standard operating procedure in order to decide the best course of action.

Make a content calendar

As you’re getting a sense of what works for your audience, you’ll want to plan out specific posts.

This will help you not only be more strategic and consistent overall with your posts, but you’ll also stay ahead of holidays and fun “social media holidays,” such as #NationalPuppyDay (for example). 

As you’re creating your content calendar, think about:

  • The best times to post
  • How often you should post
  • Any approval needed for your posts
  • Balancing promotional posts with non-promotional posts

Check out our eight tips for creating a content calendar for your brand.

Follow best practices

As easy as this sounds, best practices can shift as platforms and audiences evolve. For Twitter, it’s important to stay on top of any shifting practices and trends.

However, in general, strive to:

  • Maintain a customized profile that stands out
  • Add value with your content (solving your audience’s pain points and challenges)
  • Mix up your content types, with images, videos, infographics and GIFs
  • Add relevant hashtags where appropriate
  • Engage with your audience by tagging them, responding to comments and so on
  • Monitor your brand with social listening tactics
  • Use a social media management tool to schedule your posts, such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite

Consider paid advertisements

When it comes to paid advertisements on Twitter, you have two types:

  • Promoted tweets, where you pay for a tweet (which acts like any other tweet) to appear to a user who is not already following your account
  • Twitter ads, where you have a goal beyond the promotion of a single tweet.

Types of Twitter ads include (but are not limited to):

  • Follower growth ads
  • Website clicks or conversions
  • App-related promotion
  • Lead generation

Measure your results

This goes back to your S.M.A.R.T. goals. As your strategic efforts get underway on Twitter, you want to regularly check in on your post performance.

How are you performing against your goals? In general, try to resist the draw of “vanity metrics,” such as pure follower number and likes. Keep a closer eye on click-throughs, comments and retweets.

Continue evaluating your goals, your performance and your ROI. Nothing should be “set it and forget it.” Social media is a fast changing industry, and you’ll want to stay ahead of the curve.

Now that you can make your Twitter presence more effective, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. Schedule your free demo of DailyStory today.

8 tips to increase organic traffic to your website

While digital advertising likely has a recurring portion of your budget, not all website traffic has to be paid for.

It is possible to increase your web traffic organically.

Keep in mind that 51 percent of website traffic is organic, while internet browsers opt to use organic search results (versus paid results) about 94 percent of the time.

There is power in optimizing for an increase in your organic traffic, as well as a payoff when prioritized regularly.

The following are eight tips to help you boost the organic traffic to your website.

Think about humans over search engines

It’s easy to dive head-first into all things search engine optimization (SEO), but don’t forget who you’re trying to reach and engage with. Humans.

Yes, search engines determine your ranking, but search engines are paying more attention to user behavior and activity on your website than you might realize, such as time spent on pages and the pages visited.

For example, if visitors are spending a lot of time on your website and browsing several pages, that’s a positive signal to search engines.

When you forget about humans in the design and content of your website, you risk a high bounce rate, shorter amounts of time spent on your site and/or few pages visited within a session (if the visitor hasn’t already bounced).

That all leads to lower rankings on search engine result pages.

Create a blog

You might have noticed more blogs on business websites lately. This is because content serves as the gravity to pull more visitors into your website (like a planet).

In addition to increasing organic traffic over time, a consistent blog can help boost your website’s authority on the topics that are important to your audience and within your industry.

Always think about a question or pain point that your audience might have and use that to decide topics for your blog posts. Doing so helps keep your content relevant and effective.

It’s important that once you begin to publish a blog, you’ll want to keep posting consistently. Determine a schedule in advance that works for your time and available resources.

Check out our seven tips to help level up your content marketing specifically.

Refresh and update old content

The older your blog gets, the more opportunities you’ll have to refresh out-of-date content.

It’s important to set a schedule to regularly review older content for updating. Consider:

  • Any dates
  • Statistics used
  • Other outdated information
  • The structure of your page (considering user intent)

Beyond the updating, you can consider repurposing existing content as well to increase your website’s relevancy and draw. Check out our 13 tips for repurposing content like a rockstar.

Keywords still matter

In terms of SEO, keywords might feel played out at this point, but they still matter.

Consider your target audience. When they’re searching in a search engine, what would you want to appear for? Stick with the most relevant keywords, and remember to always think of the user experience on your website. Don’t overstuff keywords on your pages.

Take a look at these 11 free SEO keyword search tools, which can help.

Optimize for the featured snippet

A newer feature, especially on Google, is the featured snippet. This is the breakout box that appear at the top of your search results to provide you with direct answers to your search query.

Appearing in that can’t-miss spot at the top of the search results will generate more organic traffic.

How can your website get selected for the featured snippet? Some suggested best practices include (but are not limited to):

  • Using lists to answer a particular search query directly, whether it’s bulleted or numbered.
  • Offering short, to-the-point answers. 
  • Including your core keyword in your content.

In other words, it’s about having clear, direct information that answers specific questions. Think skimmable content.

Don’t forget about your title tag and meta description

Think about the results you see when you enter a query into any search engine. What do you do with the results?

Commonly, internet users skim the headlines and descriptions of each result until they find what they think satisfies their search the best.

Therefore, it’s not hard to underscore the importance of title tags (search result headlines) and meta descriptions (the paragraph below each headline).

This pair can make or break the organic traffic to your website. You should think of them as the “advertisement” to browsing internet users, trying to convince them to go to your website instead of all others.

For the title tag, try to keep it at 60 characters or less, with the core keyword up front and an engaging angle as much as possible.

For the meta description, strive for 160 characters or less, with both your core keyword and a reason why users should click on your website. This is an opportunity to offer insight into the value of your search result.

Dive deeper into the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.

Quality backlinks are worthwhile

Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. Quality backlinks boost your site’s authority from the perspective of both search engines and internet users.

They can boost organic traffic by:

  • Sending website visitors from other sites to your website directly.
  • Increasing your SEO and thus your search ranking on results pages.

Check out these seven tips to grow quality backlinks to your website.

Embrace social media

Successful websites don’t rely solely on just a blog and SEO to maintain strong organic traffic. Think multi-faceted content marketing and multi-platform.

Enter social media.

Depending on who your target audience is and what your goals are, your business might be on a limited number of social media platforms.

That’s fine. It’s definitely best to do one or two things well than to overextend and not do anything particularly well.

Resist the temptation to cross-post the exact same content across platforms without at least some tweaking to each post to better reflect the platform it will appear on (to better engage the intended audience on that platform). In fact, if you can curate unique posts per platform, even better.

What works well on Twitter wouldn’t necessarily work on Instagram, and so on. Be mindful of what you’re sharing and how you’re sharing it on each platform.

But ultimately, success on social media is like extending the gravitational pull of your content beyond what your SEO is doing for you.

Dive deeper into the seven ways your social media can influence your SEO.

As you’re working to increase your organic traffic, be sure to review the 13 most common SEO mistakes you could be making right now. The last thing you want is anything to be working against your website.

Looking to level up your digital marketing process? Consider DailyStory, which offers automation, audience segmentation and more to help your business be more efficient and successful. Schedule a free demo with us today.

8 expert tips to get started with conversational marketing

Conversational marketing is a fantastic way to engage with consumers and nurture them into paying customers.

Too many businesses rely on posted website information to address potential questions, but putting the responsibility on the consumer to figure everything out on his or her own is becoming an increasingly archaic methodology.

About 34 percent of consumers say they have not been able to get answers to simple questions on a website in the past month.

Conversational marketing meets consumers where they are. It is the strategic use of chatbots, live chat and social media listening to help you better connect with potential and existing customers. The strategy naturally guides and supports consumers through the sales funnel and ultimately creates a better user experience.

Learn more about the nature of conversational marketing and the three benefits it offers for your business.

If you’re just getting started with conversational marketing, we have eight tips to help you and your business.

Examine your customer’s journey

Before anything, it’s critical to assess your customer’s typical journey as her or she learns about your business and ultimately makes a purchase.

Where are the gaps? Where can conversations help close the deal? What platforms are involved? What tasks could be better served by automation with a chatbot or conversational approach?

Identifying your needs (where and when) along that customer journey will help focus your launch of conversational marketing components.

Start small and specific

When it comes to conversational marketing, it’s tempting to immediately launch an automatic chatbot that can handle all possible questions for your website visitors.

But be careful here. Going with that generic bot may not be as helpful as you assume. Generic answers or even the “I can’t find an answer to that question” answer can do more harm than good.

More than anything, you want to ensure an easy win as you’re starting out.

Consider the potential of having individual bots on different pages that are specific and really good at answering particular types of questions (that would be common for the page(s) they’re installed on). Start small and very specific.

For example, a bot on your homepage can help visitors better navigate your website, and a bot on your product or service page(s) can offer additional details about those products or services. 

But keep asking yourself:

  • Are you trying to generate qualified leads? 
  • Do you need to help website visitors make an appointment or reservation? 
  • Would a bot that can answer frequently asked questions in real-time and at scale be helpful for your business?

The needs you want to serve should help guide you in the best bot solution (or whether a chatbot is right for you to use at all).

Personalization matters

While this might be obvious, we still need to say it: The more personal the conversation, the better the conversation is.

But how can you make a chatbot, for example, personal?

Think about its tone and messaging. Whether it’s chatting on Facebook Messenger or on your website, you want the feel of conversing with your chatbot to be approachable and, dare we say, natural. 

Even if you’re going for a more business-like tone on your website and ease up a little on messaging apps, you still want your bots to feel consistent across platforms. A consumer could very easily interact with your bots on different platforms, so consistency (and your branding behind that) is important.

If you can, look for chatbots that can integrate with your existing CRM and even marketing software so that you can create data-enhanced conversations. This means that when available, data from past orders, invoice tracking, first names and more can all be used to create that more personalized conversation experience for the consumer.

For example, “Welcome back, John!” is a great way for your chatbot to start a conversation with your customer.

Also consider the incorporation of visuals and humor where appropriate, such as GIFs, memes and even videos. This can help with the authentic feel of the conversation as well.

Keep messaging short and sweet

Considered one of the top currencies of the internet, time matters. And likely, your potential customer doesn’t have a ton of time to spend finding answers to his or her questions.

While you want to be personal and approachable, make sure that any automated messaging is short and to the point. 

Find out more about how you can make your messaging more conversational.

Consider the conversational funnel framework

Because conversational marketing is intended to meet consumers where they are and nurture them as they move through your sales funnel, it’s important to know that there is a natural framework all conversations should have:

  • Engage. This is your opportunity to pull your lead or customer into a conversation. Saying hello and using his or her first name is a solid method, but feel free to insert a question as well, even something as simple as “How can I help you today?”
  • Understand. Success with knowing what your lead or customer needs and wants can depend on the series of qualifying questions you program into your chatbot. But doing so means you better understand how to serve them (even if that means kicking the conversation up to a real person).
  • Recommend. Getting to the recommendation stage requires successful engagement and understanding, but this is all about recommending the right next step that moves the consumer along in your sales funnel. And that next step could be as simple as helping the consumer schedule a call with a human representative to pick up where the initial automated conversation left off.

Keeping this framework in mind won’t just help your chatbot(s) build relationships, but your human customer service representatives as well.

Include triggers for person-to-person conversations

No matter how great your chatbot is, there is no real substitute for talking with a human. Think of your chatbot(s) as being able to handle all the low-hanging fruit (frequently asked questions, qualifying leads and so on), but there should be a trigger to kick the conversation up to a real person when appropriate.

Consumers can be routed by the chatbot to a live chat operator (if available). Or, chatbots can help consumers schedule an appointment for a phone call or in-person meeting. They even can guide consumers into an email exchange with a real person at your company. 

It’s your decision, but these triggers are important to consider and incorporate. Bots can’t do everything.

Be prepared for incoming customer insights

Conversational marketing is a fantastic way to learn more about what your potential and existing customers care about and want to know.

Depending on the chatbot(s) you’re using, decide in advance who these insights will be collected and evaluated.

The more listening you can do, the better your business will become over time. 

Of course, don’t forgo your regular methods of gathering feedback. Conversations should be a complement to what you’re already learning.

Find the right chatbot for you

You definitely have choices when it comes to the AI (artificial intelligence) chatbot that could represent you and your brand.

Remember, even though a chatbot typically costs money, it definitely costs less than hiring 24/7 customer service associates to handle these conversations themselves.

Some chatbot tools you can consider:

If your website exists on WordPress, you also have several different chatbots that can integrate into your site. The following are just a few that offer WordPress plug-ins:

When choosing your chatbot, refer back to the gaps you’re looking to fill along your customer journey. Also, consider your goals with conversational marketing for your brand. Make sure that your choice not only helps you reach your goals but also matches your resources (i.e. budget).

Remember, the overall goal for your conversational marketing is to make everything easier on your lead or customer. Doing so improves their user experience and increases the likelihood that their journey results in a purchase with you.

Looking to level up your digital marketing process as you get into conversational marketing? Consider DailyStory, which features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

What is affiliate marketing? 4 tips to help you create additional revenue streams

Looking for ways to create additional revenue streams for your small business? Affiliate marketing might be for you.

This method of marketing is about finding ways to complement and grow the business you already have by offering more value to your customers and anyone else you’re reaching (especially online).

Affiliate marketing is specifically the process where an affiliate (you and/or your small business) earns a commission for marketing another’s products.

Can you believe that more than 80 percent of brands have affiliate programs? In other words, there are a lot of opportunities out there, and affiliate marketing is especially low risk. Either you’re successful and generate a commission or you’re not. There is no upfront cost (outside of your time and effort spent marketing the affiliate offer). As long as you find the right fit for your own brand and audience, there is a real potential for achieving additional revenue.

The following are four tips to get the most out of your efforts as you get started with affiliate marketing.

Find and join an affiliate program

While many companies offer affiliate programs, not all do. Generally, if you’re looking for the right affiliate program to complement your existing brand, it’s good to start by searching an affiliate network, including (but not limited to):

Of course, you could always work backwards as well, looking up the companies you would like to partner with and seeing if they offer direct affiliate programs. Many list their affiliate programs on their websites. Or, get even more direct and contact the owner of any given company you’d like to work with. Just because a company isn’t publicly promoting an affiliate marketing program doesn’t mean that they don’t have one or wouldn’t be open to creating a partnership with you.

Ideally, you should already have an engaged online audience to leverage.

You also consider checking out Amazon Associates and/or the Shopify Affiliate Program.

Keep in mind that most affiliate marketing programs will have terms of service that you need to follow, so definitely read all of the fine print. 

For example, the unique link you’re given to use usually will have a cookie with a specified timeframe. In addition, some programs don’t allow you to purchase pay-per-click (PPC) ads using the name of the product or company. It’s important to be aware of all the requirements and/or limitations as you’re choosing who to work with.

In addition, commission rates can vary widely as well. It could be a flat rate or range from 5 percent of the sale to 50 percent of the sale.

Decide what to promote

More than anything, the product or service you ultimately decide to promote on your own channels should make sense for your (or your business’s) brand. It should be a great fit for your audience.

Of course, this means that you need to have a clear idea of who your audience is, how your brand serves or helps them and anything else relevant about how your brand is viewed by online followers (whether they’re customers or not).

While it doesn’t make sense for a food blogger to promote skin care products, it would make sense for them to promote cookware, kitchen appliances or even meal kits (really, anything food-related).

You’ll also want to consider your primary publishing platforms when deciding on what affiliate products or services you want to promote. Instagram, for example, would be perfect for any products you can share great visuals of. YouTube or a blog would be great for a more in-depth review of a product or service.

Remember that the quantity of affiliate offers you promote also builds trust. Consistently sharing a select few versus a buckshot approach of throwing everything at the wall is obviously more trustworthy.

Spread the word about your affiliate offer

While affiliate marketing can grow some significant passive revenue for you and/or your business, there is still some heavy lifting up front on your part to get things going.

Sharing a review

Most commonly, affiliate marketing is based on the art of the review. And for the best review, think quality over quantity. Get personal, share your true experience and be authentic.

Authenticity builds trust with your audience in general, but especially when it comes to publishing online reviews. (You likely already practice authenticity as you built up your online audience over time, so stick with that.)

The more expensive the affiliate product, the more trust you have to build. 

Your publishing channels likely will impact how you review as well. What you do on YouTube versus an Instagram Live versus a blog and so on can all bring a different angle out about your experience or how you share it. Don’t be afraid to be creative and true to not only the platform but yourself as well.

Interviewing experts

It doesn’t have to be about you or your personal experience if that doesn’t make sense for your brand. Instead, you could interview experts about the product and share what they have to say.

These experts can be part of the affiliate company who makes the product or provides the service, or it could be someone with an expert opinion whom your audience trusts.

Again, the platform you’re publishing on can help direct the type of content you create.

Create a tutorial

“How to” searches are huge on Google, so why not walk your audience through how to use your affiliate product? Whether it’s a video or a step-by-step Instagram gallery or blog, you can think outside of the box so that you can share an engaging tutorial with your audience.

Offer a bonus

Some affiliate offers can already include a discount, but if not, there might be something you can do or offer to sweeten the deal for your audience.

Maybe it’s a free ebook of yours. Maybe it’s an invitation to a private Facebook group you manage. The sky’s the limit. Just think through the logistics of how you can make good on that offer before you promote it.

But having a bonus offer can help you stand out from others offering similar products.

Keep the law in mind

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that you disclose the use of affiliate links in all posts.

But doing so isn’t a death sentence for your affiliate marketing potential. In fact, the disclosure is often appreciated by online followers who have come to expect it. When they don’t see it, they’ll often call a post out in the comments. So, being as transparent as possible isn’t just the law, it’s also a critical piece to building that trust relationship with your audience.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to consult with a lawyer when publishing a full disclosure on your website, blog or elsewhere.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is a great, low-risk way to dip your toe into alternative lines of revenue. Of course, it’s most effective to already have an engaged following (whether that’s your existing customer database or beyond) so that you can hit the ground running with a planned out strategy of content that you can share promoting the product or service that already complements your own brand.

Are you in the fitness industry? See our four tips to become a fitness affiliate marketer, as well as 18 of the best fitness affiliate programs to boost your income.

As you’re considering diving into affiliate marketing, consider leveling up your digital marketing process with DailyStory that offers automation, audience segmentation and more for all your marketing needs. Schedule a free demo with us today.

11 free graphic design tools for the non-designer

Visuals are everything when it comes to digital marketing these days.

That applies to everything, from the design of your website to the images you use on your brand’s social media channels.

Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23 percent.

Of course, the cost of graphic design is a concern for many small businesses. More than 50 percent source their design work in-house or do it themselves.

But just because you might be looking to save money on your graphic designing doesn’t mean that you can’t still reap the rewards of great design. The following are 11 free graphic design tools for the non-designer (i.e. the beginner).

Canva

One of the most popular design tools, Canva typically ranks toward the top of many lists when it comes to design.

The available templates not only are a great source of inspiration for any beginning designer, but can make an entire project that much faster and the results that much better. Canva also features an image library where some images are free to use and others require a paid subscription.

You’ll likely also appreciate the automatic color suggestion feature that can suggest colors based on images within the design. That means you can match your brand color with ease and use complimentary colors from an image that pulls together your overall design.

Canva has an app as well for on-the-go designing.

Granted, the free version of Canva can be limiting depending on how much you want to create (and to what degree you want to customize and share), but this application is being used more and more because of its easy-to-use interface and powerful features.

DesignWizard

DesignWizard resembles Canva in a lot of ways, except it includes all of its available design features in its free version.

Where the free version can limit you is when you would like to export your work. “Pay-as-you-go image and video downloads” is listed on the Pricing page.

Nonetheless, the application offers more than 10,000 free templates and a library with more than 1.2 million images, videos, illustrations and graphics.

Piktochart

Specifically looking for an application that will make infographic design easy? Consider Piktochart.

This application can act as a fair replacement for more premiere (and expensive) software, like Adobe InDesign. There are hundreds of templates, icons and graphics to choose from.

The free version does give you a lot of options to explore. One downside is that downloads from the free version will include the Piktochart watermark on them.

Pixlr

Both browser-based and offering an app, Pixlr is a free image editor that helps you edit your photos with hundreds of overlays, effects and borders.

It’s been referred to as a decent replacement for Adobe Photoshop (when considering the cost). But this application tends to have more power when it comes to photo editing than true graphic designing.

PicMonkey

If you’re looking for a fast and easy photo-editing tool, PicMonkey might be for you. You can quickly resize, crop and color-correct your photos.

It doesn’t have as many free templates and elements as Canva. However, you can upgrade to the paid version if you like.

Adobe Spark

Considered the free alternative to the more premium (and expensive) Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Spark is worth checking out.

The application comes with a fair amount of free templates. These can be particularly helpful if you’re looking to create posters or videos for ad campaigns.

Spark also supports integration with other Adobe products, which can be helpful if a project becomes more complex.

Krita

Depending on the design project, paint elements could be needed. Fortunately, Krita is a free, open-source painting program intended for artists.

Its user interface is entirely customizable with an advanced toolset.

The features available in Krita can help add an extra impact to your design efforts, so don’t be afraid to try it out, even if it is a little more advanced.

Vectr

Vectr is a graphic design software that offers the ability to design in your web browser or download a free desktop app. 

It is a great choice for presentations, logos, cards, markups and even 2D graphics since it prides itself on helping you create simple and clean vector graphics.

Vectr also has various fonts, shadows and filters, along with live collaborations and synchronization features. This means that you can share your work and collaborate with your team if needed.

Inkscape

A great alternative to Adobe Illustrator, Freehand or Corel Draw, Inkscape is an open-source graphic tool where you can create logos, illustrations and graphics.

It’s user friendly with a clear, easy-to-use interface and some advanced features, such as:

  • Alpha transparency support
  • Markers
  • Clones
  • Embedded bitmaps

Google Chart

Need to convert your data into a more eye-catching visual? Google Chart could be a solution.

The application helps you create graphs and charts that can be easily embedded into a webpage or spreadsheet.

All charts are totally customizable as well.

Infogram

Another tool that can help with infographic design is Infogram. Not only can you design infographics for free, but you can upload pictures and videos as well.

The templates Infogram provides can help inspire you to better engage your audience. The application also offers features to animate and make your charts and/or graphics interactive.

In conclusion

It doesn’t matter what tool (or tools) you ultimately decide to use for your graphic design projects. Just be sure to try a handful to make sure you end up with the application that best serves your preferences and needs.

Visuals are more important than ever. However, you’ll be surprised at how quickly any of these tools can make you look like a pro.

Not stopping at simple graphic design? Check out our list of 18 video-editing apps you should be aware of, and see our eight tips for finding your brand voice.

After leveling up your graphic design game, consider your digital marketing process. Visuals lose their impact if they’re not reaching the right people at the right time. Schedule your free demo of DailyStory today.

7 tips to level up your content marketing

You likely know by now that content is king.

But when it comes to content marketing, it’s almost too easy to find yourself spinning your wheels.

Creating content to simply create content, without a direction, plan or strategy can end up being a waste of resources. This is your opportunity to not only grow your audience reach but also show people what your brand is about and why they should both like and trust you (at least over time).

Of course, that type of traction ultimately contributes to your bottom line and boosts your ROI (return on investment).

Content marketing is essentially described as the creation and publication of content in order to build an audience and generate sales leads.

About 63 percent of businesses do not have a documented content marketing strategy.

Don’t be one of them. You’ve got to determine your strategy. The following are seven tips to help you level up your content marketing.

Define your target audience

Before you get to strategizing your content marketing, it’s imperative to identify the ideal customer you would like to target.

You may already know the demographics, interests and habits of who you most likely would sell your products or services to, but if not, a quick audit of your customer database should help.

Think about:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Profession
  • Hobbies
  • Interests
  • Challenges or needs

See our seven tips to determine your target audience.

Once you’re set on the characteristics of your ideal customer, you can approach your overall content marketing plan with that persona in mind. Truly, the “who” you’re writing for should have a huge impact on not only the content itself but the type of content you create and where/how you publish it.

Familiarize yourself with the sales funnel

Essentially, the simplest way to understand a sales funnel is to see it as the series of steps a consumer takes to become your customer.

There truly are many things that must happen between a prospect becoming aware of your business to the moment they take action and purchase from you.

However, keeping the idea of a sales funnel in mind will help keep your content marketing strategy (and even overall digital marketing strategy) on track. In addition, that focus can help prevent missed opportunities for customer conversion.

Think of it like this: Your potential customer has a problem, and you’re creating content to help them solve that problem, which brings awareness to your brand and kicks off a relationship of trust that you can nurture consistently through the conversion of a sale and beyond.

The four stages of a sales funnel are:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Decision
  • Action

Learn more about the four stages of a sales funnel.

Map out your content marketing strategy

A great strategy begins with you placing yourself in your target audience’s shoes, so to speak. (Remember that every piece of content you create should be intended to help address that person’s needs.)

As you begin to outline your content marketing strategy, ask yourself:

  • Who are you trying to reach and engage?
  • What does your target audience need?
  • What type of content does your target audience prefer (blog article, video, ebook, etc.)?
  • Can any user-generated content be incorporated?
  • What do you want to achieve with your content in the next three months, six months and 12 months? How will you measure that success?
  • What is your budget?
  • How does your content marketing strategy fit into your overall business plan?

If you or your company has already been creating content (with or without a strategy), now is a good time to perform a content audit. Evaluate what has performed well and what hasn’t. Take note of what might have contributed to those successes and failures. These takeaways will help inform your new content marketing strategy.

In your plan, you’ll want to identify and map out:

  • Your content marketing goals
  • Any branding guidelines required to maintain a consistent voice across content and content promotion
  • A content plan (what types of content you’ll be creating)
  • At least a rough editorial calendar
  • A promotion checklist (where you’ll be consistently sharing your content)

Use a content calendar

As you get further and further into your content marketing plan, using a content calendar is a great way to keep yourself organized and focus, without getting overwhelmed.

We recommend including the following information in whatever content calendar you end up using:

  • Project timelines
  • Due dates
  • Names of the team member(s) in charge of production
  • Content details, such as keywords
  • Any other information that applies to your content

Online tools, such as Asana and Trello, can help you set up an accessible calendar for your entire team.

This organization will help you publish content consistently.

See our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

Promote your content across channels

For successful content marketing, more is needed than simply hitting the publish button on your website’s blog. You must get your content to your intended target audience.

There are three types of distribution channels:

  • Owned: Channels that your company owns, such as your website, social media platforms and email list(s).
  • Earned: Third-party channels that you don’t have to pay for but have “earned” promotion through, such as social media shares and guest blogging.
  • Paid: Paying to promote your content on other channels, such as pay-per-click ads on Google or social media ads.

Just as you would have noted in your content marketing strategy plan, you should have a checklist of everywhere you plan on promoting your content.

Be sure that you’re not missing any platforms or channels that could potentially reach your audience.

Set up a system to evaluate and repurpose existing content

Never assume that you have to constantly publish new content in order to be successful in your content marketing.

In fact, any existing content can be repurposed into different, new pieces, which will not only further engage your target audience but also save you time.

The key is that you set a regular system and/or schedule for evaluating and identifying potential past content to repurpose.

Check out our tips for effectively repurposing your content.

Measure the performance of your content

About 65 percent of B2B marketers don’t measure the ROI of their content marketing.

Don’t be one of them (whether your business is B2B or B2C).

It’s imperative that you regularly measure the performance of all content and content promotion so that you have a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not with the goal of understanding the “why” behind those metrics.

That understanding will help you continue to improve your content marketing over time as you see what your target audience engages with and what they don’t.

Keep an eye on:

  • Page views
  • Time spent on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Social media engagement actions and rates

Trends should become apparent after the first few months.

As you level up your content marketing, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

MMS marketing: Using images in your text messages

Using images in your text messages (otherwise known as MMS marketing) is a great way to convey brand identity and other important content in your text message marketing.

It is often said: “A picture is worth a thousand words,” which can help you communicate more than the typical character limit for a standard text message. Plus, using MMS can also help avoid carrier violations!

But, as great as it sounds, it’s not as simple as just picking an image and sending it. There are important considerations for the type of image and implications surrounding delivery.

Check out our eight tips to write a text message that won’t get ignored.

The following are some tips and recommendations to get the most out of your MMS marketing messages.

What is a MMS text message?

As defined by Wikipedia, a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a standard way to send messages that include multimedia content to and from a mobile phone over a cellular network.

Examples include: images, video, JSON and more. For the purpose of MMS text message marketing where hundreds or thousands of messages may be sent, we’re limiting our discussion to images.

Use JPG or GIF file formats

MMS supports many image file formats, but we recommend staying with a more standard and common format.

Unfortunately, not all devices you are sending to will support all the newer formats, and the goal is to always maximize deliverability.

For images, we recommend using JPG or GIF, but only use GIF when sending animated images.

Image resolution should be less than 640 pixels wide

The image used should not be wider than 640 pixels and no taller than 1,138 pixels. This ratio (9:16) is a portrait ratio and is optimized for viewability on mobile screens. However, you can use other ratios, such as a square, while staying within these dimension constraints.

Larger, high-resolution images will not be as easily viewed on a mobile device. They also will cause the file size to exceed the recommended 300 KB, and carriers will reject the message if the image is too large.

Image size should be less than 300 KB

Image size, or how much storage space your image uses, is important to consider.

Generally, images that are larger than 300 KB should be avoided.

While the newest specification for MMS allows for larger formats when sending marketing text messages, we typically recommend the smaller the better.

You can easily find the size of an image by right-clicking and selecting properties. Below is an example from Windows for the MMS Image Dimensions image (used above) that is 36.7 KB. Well under 300 KB!

Images that are too large will not be supported by all devices. Staying within the preferred size will prevent carriers from rejecting messages for MMS file sizes being too large.

What to include

We typically recommend using imagery associated with your brand — as this helps people identify who the text is coming from. You can also include text, too.

Using text in the image is one way to work around carrier restrictions for certain words or phrases.

For example, the text phrase “20% OFF” would get flagged by carriers as part of their carrier violation score. However, the same text used in an image can bypass this restriction.

An MMS text can still include additional text content, too. We recommend including the standard “Reply STOP to opt out,” but other content can also be included. We recommend limiting the text content to no more than 320 characters, though.

What not to include

Don’t take one of your large images used on Instagram or your website and just downsize it to use for MMS. The image quality will suffer and most likely the content will be unreadable.

Keep it simple and always design for MMS, just as you would design specific assets for social media channels like Instagram.

Sounds great, but … it’s triple the cost

Text message marketing isn’t free. Carriers charge based on the number of characters sent. For example, a “segment” consists of 160 characters. Billing is calculated per-segment times the number of messages sent.

MMS text messages are no different. They effectively cost 3 segments and may go over that depending on additional text (varies by carrier).

Therefore, sending an MMS is effectively triple the cost of a regular text message.

MMS deliverability

The No. 1 concern with any text message is deliverability. And, while MMS text message marketing is a way to enhance your messages, it, unfortunately, doesn’t guarantee delivery. The tips above will help, but they can’t prevent carrier violations.

Additionally, all mobile phones do not support MMS. For example, pay-as-you-go phones have limited support for text messaging.

6 ways you can collect email addresses without a website

We’ve said it before. Email marketing is a critical component of any overall digital marketing strategy.

For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42.

Check out these 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing for your small business.

But what if you don’t have a website? How do you collect email addresses?

First, you can use DailyStory to not only host a landing page with a web form to physically collect email addresses, but also to then develop campaigns to message those email addresses.

(Landing page, web form or not, you at least want to have an email marketing platform.)

The following are six ways you can feed email addresses into your database to then market to later on.

Facebook ads

Facebook features a multitude of different ad campaign types, depending on your goal with any given ad campaign.

As far as capturing leads, Facebook offers lead generation ads, where email addresses can be captured within a form hosted on Facebook itself. You also can use a Facebook ad to drive traffic to a landing page (if you have one) with a web form to capture those email addresses.

Facebook ads can target your ideal audience. Just remember to offer a reason enticing enough for users to give you their email addresses. It could be a discount offer or a piece of premium content, so on.

Check out these seven tips to better target your Facebook ads.

Host contests

Even with a website, social media is often the best place to promote contests and giveaways.

Of course, we recommend reviewing required terms and conditions you need to provide in any contest, and it’s especially helpful to have a web form to capture email addresses and add them to your database.

A landing page (available through DailyStory) is the perfect solution to show the parameters and rules of your contest, as well as collect email addresses for entries.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to give away your own products or services. It can easily be something else that appeals to your target audience if you want. You also could partner with another company for a contest as well.

Dive deeper into Terms and Conditions and how to confirm your giveaways are legal.

Organic posts on social media

It’s the idea of not necessarily feeding all your content to a website blog but publishing it where your audience is. Potential social media platforms include (but are not limited to):

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube

In addition, Medium.com could be an option for content publishing. The key is to decide who you’re trying to reach and what platform(s) you’re mostly like to find them.

You can include email newsletter sign-up call-to-actions within your content mix, giving those you are reaching an opportunity to get more from you.

See what every startup company should know about social media.

Guest appearances

Whether this is guest blogging for a popular website among your target audience or guest appearing on a podcast, the power of this approach resides in the fact that you’re getting in front of an audience you don’t normally connect with.

Be ready with both your call-to-action and an offer that makes people want to act.

Again, having an easy-to-find web form (via a link or other means) is imperative.

Speaking of guest blogging, see our seven tips to grow quality backlinks and improve your SEO.

Content upgrades

No matter where you’re publishing (social media, Medium.com, elsewhere), you could always deliver a little bit more in a nicer package.

That’s where content upgrades (or premium content) comes into play.

Developing a PDF version of a guide, a deeper dive into a topic or something else that addresses a pain point of your target audience is a great way to collect email addresses.

Ideally, this is evergreen content that’s consistently relevant and designed in a visually engaging way.

All you have to do is offer it for free and use a web form to collect a user’s information. Then, have that content automatically sent to that user. 

Users get the content upgrade. You get their email addresses. Win-win.

Dive deeper into what premium content is and how you can leverage it in your digital marketing.

Webinar hosting

As an expert in your industry, consider what topic you might be able to educate others on via a webinar.

Sign-ups can be promoted through your social media and other channels (and email addresses collected).

Even if you don’t get a lot of sign-ups (or any), the session can be recorded and repurposed for later and alternate uses.

See our 12 expert tips to help you host your first webinar.

In conclusion

Obviously, there are ways to collect email addresses and use email marketing to grow your business without a website.

However, we definitely recommend creating a website as soon as possible since it offers a consistent home for your promotions, lends credibility to your brand in the eyes of your customers and can help drive search engine rankings, among other reasons.

Check out our beginner’s guide for choosing and acquiring the perfect domain name for your business.

Need assistance not only capturing email addresses but maximizing your email marketing efforts? DailyStory features email automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

10 types of videos you can use in your marketing strategy

Videos matter.

In fact, about 92 percent of marketers say that videos are an important part of their marketing strategy.

See our five reasons why your business should consider creating more video content.

If you’re just getting into video creation for your brand, it might be a little overwhelming to know where to start.

Below are 10 types of videos that you can use in your marketing campaigns.

Educational videos

Here’s a fun fact. “How-to” searches are among the most popular of searches on YouTube (the world’s second-largest search engine), which makes educational videos a strategic opportunity.

This type provides information about a topic that helps the viewer become more knowledgeable about the subject.

This is a common approach in video marketing. A hair salon might post about how to do a French braid, for example.

Product videos

This type is all about showing off your product to potential customers.

What does the product look like?

How does it work?

What are the benefits and features?

Of course, this can segway into product sneak peeks and so on to generate excitement with your audience.

360-degree experiences

This is the ideal type to give a consumer as much of a virtual reality kind of experience as possible.

Some businesses will use 360-degree experiences for their Google My Business listing so that people can check out their entire location virtually.

This type is also especially popular in real estate, in which virtual home tours are conducted for potential buyers.

Company-culture videos

This type is similar to your brand film, but it is specifically used to attract potential employees to your business.

Company-culture videos offer more information about your company, what it’s like to work there and who else works there (and how they like it).

It’s definitely an ideal type to create for your LinkedIn presence.

Testimonial videos

Testimonials are a go-to for any savvy business, but while many feature written testimonials from happy customers, imagine their power on video.

Customer testimonial videos feature satisfied customers sharing their experience with your service or product and why they recommend it for others.

FAQs

These are very similar to educational approaches in the sense that you are, in fact, educating.

However, FAQs specifically address the most commonly asked questions people have for your business.

This type enables you to get ahead of the questions and address any potential objections in an engaging way.

Brand videos

Intended for awareness, brand videos strive to inform about the nature of your business and brand. 

Often used in ads, this type strives to tell the overall story behind your business and what you’re all about. The intent is to make people care about you and your message.

Instructional videos

Also similar to educational videos, going instructional gears toward more of a specific step-by-step approach.

Think written instructions to start using your product, but in a visual form.

Live-stream recordings

We shouldn’t be the first to tell you the value of live-streaming, especially on social media.

(Just in case you’re new to live-streaming, check out our tips to look as professional as possible.)

What’s great about going live is that the recording can be repurposed elsewhere in your marketing, even if it’s as simple as an “in case you missed it” email to your database.

Vlogs

Vlogs are simply video blogs (or video logs, depending on who you talk to).

Often, a vlog consists of someone shooting themself talking about a subject or reviewing a product, service and/or event.

This type can be very personal and earns points for its authenticity. It’s a common tactic for some online influencers and can create a trusted connection with their audiences.

As you look over your upcoming marketing campaigns and overall strategy, decide what type is the “low-hanging fruit” for your brand. Which makes the most sense to start with? Begin there, and remember that you can slowly integrate video into your digital marketing more and more over time as you get more comfortable.

See what video platform is best for marketers, and check out these 18 video-editing apps you should know about.

In need of a digital marketing platform that specializes in automation, personalization and more? Check out our DailyStory features and schedule your free demo today.

Where to begin? 7 tips to start your first marketing campaign

Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the leap and invest in the first marketing campaign for your company.

And while marketing itself is definitely nothing new, being a first-timer isn’t as unique as it sounds. With so many new companies starting, this is an incredibly common scenario.

In fact, there were about 266,000 new businesses began during the fourth quarter of 2019 alone

And if you’re a team of one, planning your first campaign can feel especially overwhelming.

So, where should you begin?

Keep in mind that a marketing campaign has a budget, a specific desired outcome and starts/ends on a specified date. For example, a Facebook ad is a type of social media marketing campaign, while simply have a published website is a marketing activity but not an official campaign.

The following are seven tips for you to think through before taking the official dive into your first marketing campaign.

Outline your goals

This is the first step no matter what type of marketing campaign you want to run. 

If you don’t know what you want to achieve or how it will be measured, how will you know if you’re successful?

Think S.M.A.R.T. goals! These are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. You can base your goals on sales, customer satisfaction or even profit.

For example, you might want to gain 10 new members a week, sell 10 more products per week than average, increase profit by 10 percent in the first quarter of the year.

The bonus of setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal is that it not only holds your campaign accountable, but it can also influence what type of campaign that should be run.

See our seven expert tips to set achievable marketing goals for your small business.

Identify your target audience

A typical mistake of most first-time marketing campaigns is that the target audience is too broad.

Sure, we all want everyone to want to buy what we’re selling.

However, when our message and strategy is too broad, you risk engaging almost no one.

Think of it like casting a net. The more general the message, the larger the net, as well as the netting itself, and you really don’t capture any fish. The more specific and targeted the message, the smaller the net and the netting itself. This means that while the net is smaller, it will catch more fish.

It can be a tough concept to accept at first. Simply think of yourself as a marketing sniper. You want to be purposeful about who you’re talking to, how you’re talking to them and where you’re talking to them.

The key component of this part of the planning is deciding who you want to reach.

There are a few ways to go about this. 

If you’re a new startup, you likely have a target audience already decided in your business plan. It’s about reaching out to the ideal customer, based on market research you’ve already done. 

If you’re an existing business, you have an added benefit of auditing your own customer database. Who is your typical customer? Is it who you would expect? Are you looking to expand into a different demographic? These are key questions you should ask yourself.

Depending on the demographic you’re targeting, this can determine the methodology of your first marketing campaign (such as where you should be investing). For example, print advertising is better for reaching an older, more community-invested audience. Certain social media platforms, like Instagram, on the other hand, are better for a younger audience.

Think about the gender, age range, education level, salary, location and even the pain points that you can solve with your service or product.

Dive deeper with our seven tips to help you determine your target audience.

Conduct research

The term “research” is being left intentionally vague because it really includes both market research and a competitive analysis.

Market research is about understanding consumers’ needs and preferences. This can be discovered through a number of different methods, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.

A competitive analysis looks at your competition, what they offer, what they’re doing well and even what they’re not doing.

Learn more about what a competitive analysis is and how you can start your first one, as well as 16 tools that can make the research easier.

Set your budget

The earlier you can determine your budget, the better. This helps you make the best decisions for your campaign without spending more than you can afford.

Of course, your budget can be more complicated than simply an amount you can afford next month.

A thoughtful marketing budget factors in the lifetime value of each of your customers (on average). In other words, how much revenue would you typically generate from each customer over a set period of time?

Your budget should balance your company’s earning potential with the investment necessary to help it grow.

Startup companies in particular might be starting with a small budget, and that’s okay! You can easily start with something small, like a targeted Facebook ad and scale up over time.

Of course, as you scale up, you can start diversifying your budget, thinking about what portion should be dedicated to any or all of the following:

  • Your website
  • Social media management and ads
  • Email marketing
  • Online advertising
  • Event marketing
  • Print advertising
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • TV and/or radio advertising
  • Public relations

Again, your overall strategy and budget should always come back to your S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Check out our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget.

Determine your marketing channel(s)

Once you have your goals, your target audience and your prospective budget set, it’s time to use that information to decide on the method of your first marketing campaign.

Typically, if you’re just starting to dip your toe into the marketing world, it’s best to try only one method at first. 

But as you get more comfortable, you can expand out to more of a mix of options that all complement one another. 

For example, a simple email marketing campaign to your existing database could be later expanded into a Facebook ad targeting people who have not interacted with you in any meaningful way.

Building on that, you can launch a display-ad campaign to drive more users to your website, as well as a lead-generation pop-up ad on your site to capture your visitors’ contact information to include them into your email campaign, and so on.

The more pieces you incorporate, the more you should track each piece on a marketing plan calendar to keep the big picture (and strategy) in mind.

But again, start simply. This will keep you focused on the execution and goals at hand and make the measurement of the campaign’s success easier to understand.

See our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners to better understand all the options that are available.

Create your message, content

It’s important that no matter how simply you might start your first marketing campaign, you must include a message that engages your target audience packaged in a way that catches their attention.

This can be an offer, such as a discount or coupon, or an enticing reason to subscribe to your email newsletter. The sky is the limit.

Once you know your message, you can start creating your content. There are a number of tools (including Canva) that can help even the biggest non-designers among us create something professional-looking. Check out these 11 free graphic design tools for the non-designer.

Just remember to stay in line with your own brand and that the sizing of your content should be optimized for the platform you’re making it for. 

An email header image, for example, is a different shape and size than the ideal Instagram post or even Instagram Story slide.

Learn more about how to level up your content marketing.

Measure your success

What you’re measuring ultimately depends on your marketing campaign and the goals you’re trying to achieve.

There are a number of different KPIs (key performance indicators) you can analyze, depending on the type of marketing campaign, including but not limited to:

  • Website pageviews
  • Time spent on your website or page
  • Click-throughs and referrals from paid digital ads
  • Email opens, click-throughs and CTOR (click-to-open rate)
  • Event leads
  • Engagement actions on social media (reactions, shares and comments)
  • Reach on social media

The reason why you want to measure is so that you know whether the money you’re spending is successful or not. No one wants to spend money on efforts that are not working.

As part of your planning process, decide what metrics matter most and make sure you know how to measure them.

See our guides to better understand your analytics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In the end, take everything one step at a time when launching your first marketing campaign. The most important aspect is planning. Remember, a great marketing campaign is 80 percent planning and 20 percent execution.

As you begin to launch your first marketing campaign, consider optimizing your entire digital marketing process, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

12 strategies to capture more email leads without annoying everyone

The last thing any smart business wants to do is accidentally annoy or “chase off” website visitors in the pursuit of capturing email leads.

Why capture email addresses?

About 80 percent of business professionals say that email marketing increases customer retention, according to HubSpot. That and 59 percent of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions, according to SaleCycle.

The good news is that there are many ways to capture email leads without annoying people on your website, 12 to be exact. And you can pick any of our below recommendations that make sense for your company’s website. 

Spoiler alert: We offer suggestions beyond just less-intrusive pop-up ads.

Tip #1: Your pop-up doesn’t appear until the end of your content

A common practice is to have a pop-up ad appear within so many seconds of a visitor landing on your content. 

This runs the risk of losing your visitor before he or she has had time to be won over by your content itself.

By waiting until the content is over, that patience can lead to a higher conversion rate of those who finish your content. It appears more like the call-to-action (CTA) that it is rather than a barrier to your content.

Dive deeper with our eight tips to get more leads out of your pop-up ads.

Tip #2: Embed a subscribe box at the end of your content

This is the same idea as the pop-up at the end of your content, except that when you embed a subscribe box, it’s not popping up at your visitor.

It’s an even less intrusive way to achieve the same thing.

You can design and embed the same subscribe box at the end of each of your blog posts, for example.

Tip #3: Slide in your request after so much of a page scroll

Not to be confused with “sliding into your DMs,” you can set up a slider pop-up at the bottom of your webpage that literally slides in on the bottom corner of the screen after a visitor scrolls through a chosen person of the webpage.

This is less intrusive and also appears at a time when your visitor is most engaged and more likely to want to subscribe to your newsletter for more content.

Tip #4: Your pop-up doesn’t appear until a user is about to exit

You may or may not be familiar with exit-intent technology since it’s relatively newer. 

If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

Exit-intent is behavioral technology that understands the movements of website visitors and detects when they’re going to leave your site without making a purchase or giving you their information, according to Omniconvert.

Therefore, exit-intent pop-ups appear at just the right time. Again, they’re not perceived as a barrier in any way. They’re intended to catch that visitor’s attention before they leave, and they can be very successful.

See our 18 exit-intent tips to convert your website visitors before you lose them.

Tip #5: Offer a content upgrade to engaged visitors

Smart content marketers know that they shouldn’t give everything up for “free.” 

One way to generate leads without annoying your website visitor is to offer enough content to engage and then deeper content in exchange for his or her email address.

For example, you’re reading our tips about capturing more email leads without chasing away your website visitors. We could offer you through a pop-up a more detailed email-capturing strategy guide that can be emailed to you. 

Upgrades can include, but are not limited to:

  • eBooks
  • Webinars
  • Free tools
  • Templates
  • Email courses
  • Checklists

It’s about the allure of upgraded content for the visitor. The promise of value is upfront.

But to be clear, this does not have to be a pop-up. This can be as simple as an in-line link within your content.

Of course, this can be expanded to any number of content offers.

Dive deeper into premium content and how you can leverage it in your digital marketing.

Tip #6: Feature a permanent sticky top bar

As an alternative to deciding on the timing of a pop-up, you can have a standing, permanent top bar at the top of your page the entire time the visitor is engaging with your content.

The pro is that it’s constantly in your visitor’s sight while also not disrupting his or her experience.

The top-of-the-page sticky bar itself can be simple. You don’t have to overdesign it. Just make sure that it’s a clear CTA.

Tip #7: Consider a feature box on your homepage

A feature box is similar to the top-of-the-page sticky bar. It can vary in design, but typically, it’s a call to action that is on top of everything at the bottom of your screen usually when on your homepage.

Just like any other form of opt-in, it needs to be clear and compelling.

Tip #8: Experiment with a welcome home gate on your website

What’s a “home gate,” you might be asking?

Consider it as a splash screen that’s part of the homepage of your website, which typically is the most visited page of any website. 

It’s an immediate CTA just below your navigation menu, designed to be eye-catching that you can still scroll past for more content on the homepage itself. Keep in mind that it’s not a pop-up. It’s basically the top portion of your homepage.

Tip #9: Create a dedicated landing page

What’s better than an entire webpage dedicated to the conversion of email subscriptions?

If designed well, the conversion rate can be high.

Key aspects that your landing page should have:

  • An appealing offer to drive subscriptions (the sky is the limit here, depending on your brand and what makes the most sense)
  • Clear call-to-action
  • Clean, bright design
  • Feature testimonials if applicable

Tip #10: Include a sidebar next to your content

Another less-intrusive way to capture email leads is to include a sidebar for subscribing next to your content.

Just like the top-of-the-page sticky bar, it can stay in sight of the visitor throughout, depending on the layout of your webpage. 

Be sure that it’s eye-catching for the visitor and not an element that’s easy to overlook. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.

Tip #11: Your pop-up can wait until the second pageview

Similar to waiting until the end of your content or when a website visitor is about to exit, you can wait until the second pageview for a pop-up to appear in order to capture email leads.

Doing so is an acknowledgment of the fact that a lot of your first-time visitors are likely arriving through a Google search in the hunt for an answer to a question that they have.

A pop-up immediately just gets in the way of their mission, but a pop-up on a second pageview on your website is a bet that this visitor is now more engaged with your content specifically. And therefore, now is the time to suggest subscribing to your email list.

The risk is that you will lose the opportunity to “catch” everyone who only appears on your website one time. 

Tip #12: Impress visitors with a full-screen pop-up

A full-screen pop-up can be risky when it comes to annoying your website visitors and effectively capturing email leads.

It has to be well-designed and a very compelling offer to truly “wow” your visitors instead of annoying them. 

A big giveaway could be enough to warrant a full-screen opt-in experience.

Just like with any other pop-up, keep the timing in mind. Avoid anything that is immediate.

It’s important to audit your website with fresh eyes. Where are the opportunities to capture email addresses from those arriving on your site? Remember that less can be more when first starting out, and you’ll want to start out simply, evaluate the performance and build from there.

A number of email lead acquisition tools are available through DailyStory. Schedule a free demo with one of our digital marketing experts today.

Plus, check out our 18 low-cost marketing ideas for your small business.

17 types of automated emails you can start using today

New to automated emails? The good news is that they are an incredibly effective tool when blended into your larger marketing strategy.

The bad news is that you might not know where to start.

But that’s okay!

Depending on your brand and business, there are a number of “low-hanging fruit” type of automated emails that you can begin with and go from there.

Automated emails have a 70.5 percent higher open rate and 152 percent higher click-through rate than generic email newsletters, according to Epsilon.

Dive deeper into email automation and what it is. And see these nine reasons why email automation matters in your digital marketing.

Here are 17 types of automated emails that you can start using today. Let’s get to it!

Welcome emails

The idea behind a welcome email is probably pretty obvious: You want to confirm an opt-in and greet your new subscriber.

Of course, welcome messages don’t have to be limited to a single email. You can set up a series of welcome emails that can pace out introducing your brand, your team, customer experiences and so on. (Learn more about setting up a welcome email series that gets you leads.)

Welcome emails are a critical type of automated email because they serve as your first impression. They lead to higher engagement and boost customer conversion.

In fact, welcome emails generate an average open rate of more than 80 percent and a click-through rate of more than 25 percent, according to GetResponse.

Just remember that you also can remind users what they will get from your emails (exclusive content or content highlights, special discounts, so on). You also can share where users can review their subscription settings (and make adjustments).

Onboarding emails

This type of automated email is all about educating your new customer.

Onboarding emails typically share product or service features, as well as hidden benefits people might not be aware of.

You can consider these a series of training emails in which you’re helping your customer get the most out of your product or service. Perhaps you want to educate them about how to download and use your app. 

Whatever the purpose, when customers fully understand everything you’re giving them, you’ll see better customer retention and fewer refund requests.

Engagement follow-up emails

These automated emails are intended to follow up on a subscriber’s actions, such as whether a recipient opens and clicks your original email (or not) can trigger an automatic follow-up email within a certain period of time to “seal the deal” or help convert that subscriber.

For example, if you send a promotional email out, you can have an automated follow-up email set up to send to anyone who didn’t open the original email, featuring a more targeted subject line and/or even a free, limited-time offer.

Special event emails

A really popular option is to set up birthday and/or anniversary emails for your email database.

You’re essentially sending well wishes for a birthday or other special date.

It not only helps build a relationship with your subscribers but also can help lead to conversions depending on what deal or discount you might additionally offer.

Personalized, targeted emails have a higher open rate as well.

Make sure that your automated email service can support custom-value triggers, such as birth dates and opt-in dates, depending on what type of special event you want to automate for.

Cart abandonment emails

This can be critical to increasing your revenue.

The rate of online shopping cart abandonment is reported to be at almost 70 percent, according to the Baymard Institute. Imagine if you can capture even a fraction of this for your business.

Typically, this type of automated email expresses that not only has the user left items in his or her cart and leverages something to help secure the sale. Sometimes, the reminder alone is enough, but you can also offer a discount, free shipping, etc.

About a third of cart-abandonment email clicks result in a purchase, according to SaleCycle.

You have the opportunity to turn this automated email into a series as well if you desire, timing your reminders and potentially increasing your incentive for recipients to complete the purchase.

Just be aware that you’ll want to confirm that your automated email service can integrate with your e-commerce website in order to trigger these emails.

Retargeting emails

Depending on whether you have retargeting pixels installed on your website, you can set up an email automation that reminds users via email of a product or service they were viewing on your website but did not purchase (or add to their cart).

This can be more advanced to set up but still very effective.

Order notification emails

These automated emails include receipts, invoices, shipping updates, refund confirmations and even order cancellations.

They are entirely dependent on your customer’s purchase activity and can either be fairly basic in design and messaging or encompass a little flair, depending on your brand.

Content download emails

If you’re using content marketing for lead generation, then you should already be familiar with this type of automated email.

In general, you offer some sort of content that a user can download (be it an ebook, webinar, kit, so on). In exchange for this free content, the user gives you his or her contact information. You then use this information to both add the user to your database and send your free content to his or her email inbox.

This is a common practice that you’ll see used on many websites by businesses.

Thank you emails

These can result from almost any action a subscriber takes, depending on your business.

Whether it’s a first-time purchase or an interaction with your customer service (“Thank you for contacting us”) or something else, it’s critical to express gratitude to your subscribers and/or customers. You do value them after all.

Think through interactions people typically have with your brand. Where is it important to automate a considerate thank you message?

Of course, your messaging can include a discount or other offer as well if you like.

Appreciation emails

These differ slightly from “thank you” emails because the idea is to reward your best or most loyal customers.

You can take this opportunity to offer a special coupon, heartfelt message, exclusive content, etc.

Satisfaction emails

If you have a feedback survey system integrated with your email service, it’s possible to create automated emails related to the satisfaction of your customers. 

One email would trigger if the customer is happy, and another would trigger if the customer is not. 

It’s key that you put yourself in the shoes of the customer when creating these messages. An email automatically sending to someone who is not happy (or perhaps even angry) cannot sound fake or inauthentic. 

Feedback, review emails

When you have any amount of customer retention, you’re missing an opportunity if you’re not automating emails to solicit their feedback or customer reviews.

Everyone appreciates being heard and acknowledged, so give your customers that opportunity. What you end up hearing from them could help improve your product, service or even your marketing strategy.

Every business wants to see more positive reviews on Yelp, Google and so on. Simply asking can work better than you might assume. However, you can consider an escalating automated series that asks at first and then offers an incentive (such as a discount, gift card, free shipping, etc.) in the follow-up.

Reminder emails

If you have customers who purchase on any sort of cycle (such as a prepaid year of membership, for example), it’s helpful to have automated reminder emails that let your customer know it’s about time to purchase or renew.

Anything you can do to elevate this messaging can help with the retention and/or conversion. For example, you can include a list of the benefits they’re currently enjoying, as well as a sneak peek of anything new coming in the future.

Of course, reminders can be tied to events, webinars, product launches, you name it.

Referral emails

What’s better than snagging a new customer? That customer referring you to his or her friends, of course.

Perhaps you have an ongoing referral incentive for customers, or maybe you offer referral incentives periodically. Either way, you should communicate that to your customer base.

Referral promotion can be included in a welcome or onboarding automated series or set up separately once a customer has been with you for a certain period of time.

Win-back emails

No matter what, customers will fall off, so it makes sense to have an automated email that sends out after a certain period of time to help win your customers back.

This can include a “miss you” message, as well as an offer to help promote the conversion.

You can choose the frequency. One suggestion is that the first automated email can send 120 days without any purchase activity, a second email 240 days without any purchase activity and a third email 365 days without any purchase activity. The messaging (and even the offer) can differ depending on the length of time.

Traditional ‘drip’ emails

A drip campaign is a common phrase in email marketing and refers to a method of nurturing your leads to help convert them over time to customers.

True, many automated email workflows can be considered drip campaigns, but we would be remiss to not single out the concept separately since there are a number of variations you can employ to nurture your leads, such as upselling.

The idea is that you map out a series of emails that slowly build up the value of your product, service and/or brand to the recipient in order to ultimately result in securing a new client or purchase. 

Farewell emails

If you offer a service that customers can opt out of at some point, it’s worth considering an automated farewell email.

The idea behind it is transparency, gratitude and customer care. It is your opportunity to make a “last impression” on your customer, so be authentic in your messaging. It could very well result in his or her eventual return (or second thoughts about leaving in the first place).

For example, you thank them for the time (perhaps years) they’ve spent with you.

When starting with email automation, list your priorities and start with whatever is the most simple. Monitor that campaign’s performance, and when you feel comfortable, you can add additional automated emails and campaigns.

Check out these seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not have thought of yet.

DailyStory offers a range of automation tools. Whether you’re looking to email, text or send a push alert notification, consider scheduling a free demo today.

Find your voice: 8 tips for reflecting your brand’s personality

You may hear it often these days. Your “brand voice” is everything online. 

It helps people connect with you, engage with you and (hopefully) come to trust you.

As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

But a brand voice is nothing more than the personality of your brand, and while we largely view this as an online requirement, it transcends to any other medium (print and broadcast included) where your brand may express itself.

See our nine tips to help build a new brand from scratch.

Here are eight tips on how to find your brand voice so that you can be consistent and engaging.

Start with your company’s mission statement

The purpose of your brand should drive the type of tone and voice you create. In other words, your personality should reflect what you care about. 

For instance, self-esteem is a big part of Dove’s mission statement, making its voice empowering and uplifting to connect with its customers and potential customers. Themes of self-empowerment and body positivity can be seen in a lot of Dove’s messaging, but Dove also delivers it in a soothing, inspirational and friendly tone.

Review your current messaging

If you’re not starting from scratch and already have content created, it’s a good idea to perform an audit. You’ll want to look over your website, any blog posts, social media posts, videos, etc. 

Is there consistency among the tone and messaging? Or, is it a bit all over the place? Take note of the best-performing pieces because they could be a signal of what is already connecting with your audience.

Deep dive into your audience

Begin with the tools already available to you, such as Google Analytics (or any other website performance tool), social media analytics from the platforms you’re using and any customer database information you already have in-house.

How old are there? Mostly one gender or evenly split? Where do they live? Education? Occupations? How did they hear of your business? And whatever other data you have is helpful.

While not all of those questions might be answerable, you’ll want to gather as much as you can to understand who you are reaching. Once you do, you should compare this to who you want to reach, your target audience. This will help you decide whether what you’re currently doing is on track with what you should be doing in regard to brand voice. 

If you’re looking to reach more middle-aged women, this voice looks a lot different than if you want to reach more college-aged men.

See our seven tips to help you determine your target audience.

Play the ‘We’re this, not that’ game

Okay, it’s not exactly a game. But it’s a great exercise to narrow down what your brand is about.

Simply fill in the blanks: “We’re ________, but we’re not __________.”

You’ll want to do this at least a half dozen times to drill down to the essence of how you want to sound. For example: “We’re laidback, but not lazy.”

You can and should take your audience research and most successful content into consideration while working through this.

Choose three words to describe your voice

If you let yourself go on the “We’re this, not that” exercise, there hopefully are a few keywords that now stick out to you. 

If your brand was a person, ask yourself which three words you would use to describe this person’s personality. And how do these traits make you different?

Make a ‘brand voice chart’

Once you decide on the three traits that best represent your brand’s personality, you can build a chart so that you can flush out how each one should be used in your messaging moving forward.

Create a table with four columns. The first column is the list of brand characteristics you’ve already decided on. The next column is a description of how that trait relates to your company or brand. The third column are all the “Do’s” related to accomplishing that (such as using strong verbs if you’re passionate or being playful if you’re irrelevant, for example), whatever actions will reflect that trait. Then, the last column should have all the “Don’ts.” These are the actions you’ll want to avoid in the pursuit of reflecting that trait (such as using too much slang if you’re quirky or over-promising if you’re authentic, for example).

You’ll want to work through that chart for each personality trait, essentially creating your road map for your brand’s voice and tone that can be referenced moving forward.

Translate your ‘brand voice chart’ into guidelines

While a “brand voice chart” is incredibly helpful and definitely an asset you can present to your team, consider taking it a step further. You can create clearly documented guidelines to help enforce consistency well into the future.

Because as we all know, it’s one thing if it’s just you communicating as your brand. It’s a whole other world when bringing a team together to share and express a single brand voice.

It’s great if your guidelines can be boiled down into a one-pager (or have a Cliff Notes version that’s accessible on the fly), but it doesn’t have to be. This is especially true if you’re including:

  • A deep dive into your brand’s core personality
  • A reflection on tone (how you’re communicating that personality, especially on different platforms)
  • A look at the specifics (that can be formatted as a “do this, not that” and even include recommended spelling, grammar and jargon use)
  • A description on multimedia use (ranging from videos to emojis)

The power of your guidelines does come from the time you invest in it to make it the “holy grail” of communication for your team.

Be ready to evolve as your brand does

Just like people, brands can grow and change over time. Be nimble about what this could look like for your brand and ready to adjust your ‘brand voice chart’ and guidelines as needed.

On the flip side, you don’t want to change too many things too quickly. It could confuse your team and your audience.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration from brands doing it right, take a look at Wendy’s, MailChimp and Red Bull. Check out their websites and social media pages. They’re all very different brands but extremely consistent, as well as creative, in how they project their individual brand voices. 

And above all, know that discovering and conveying your brand voice will be filled with some trials and errors no matter how much planning you do. Just keep an eye on your content’s performance across platforms and pivot as needed.

While you’re examining your brand voice, consider these seven tips to be more conversational and relatable in your marketing. In addition, see our 10 tips to build up your personal brand and grow your business.

Plus, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners to get inspired about your own brand’s marketing efforts and focus.

As you begin to find your brand voice, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.