The Marketing Boutique

We’ve got eight online marketing tips to help improve your holiday sales! You need help with your online marketing as the holidays start to get close in on us. The big shopping rush is about to set upon us and as a local shop or an e-retailer, you know you need a certain percentage of this holiday buying momentum to make your year profitable. The good news is that based on Internet Retailer reports, the e-commerce holiday sales are set for double-digit growth for 2014. Even if you are a local shop and may not have a website or sell online, there are affordable online marketing tactics you can do to ensure you’ll get some of that holiday spending spirit!

Here are our eight online marketing tips to help you get more sales during the holiday shopping season.

1. Online marketing starts with advertising

Whether you are an online store or a local shop, now is the time to increase or invest in your online marketing tactics, specifically in advertising and promotions. Branding Brand reported that in August 2014, 51% of traffic to leading retailers came from smartphones and tablets and expect a steady increase in mobile shoppers.

Action #1: Invest in Mobile Advertising for this holiday season. This can be a solid tactic for a local retail shop that may not have a website.

Action #2: Test Facebook Advertising as they too report that 66% of their sales come from mobile users. Test early to ensure that during the holiday season you get your advert just right!

2. Optimize check-out

Your second 2 online marketing tip is to optimize your website before the holiday buying season, now is not the time to skimp out on enhancing the check-out process on your e-commerce site. Make any additional costs clearly visible during the “add to cart” step. Also make it easy to buy! Remove the required ‘have to register’ before purchase or add the option to buy as a guest. Finally, add produce images when they view their cart.

3. Develop a Holiday Gift Guide, or two!

We like it easy. As a stressed-out holiday shopper, we look to our retailers to do the work for us. That’s why an annual Holiday Gift Guide, as well as gift packages, are very popular. To create a branded experience, one where customers wait for every year, you need to start with holiday packaging materials, new products, different product sizes. Don’t forget to hire a top-notch photographer, one who has experience in product photography.

Make enough photos so you can create a general holiday guide and then another one for either the rush period or a dedicated guide, like just for men, depending on what you offer. Also, hire a graphic artist to create a beautiful layout because you want people to share your guide!!

4. CO-BRAND YOUR holiday promotion

According to Retail Information Systems News, 43% of us will pay full price in order to get the “perfect gift” for someone on their list. In other words, it pays to invest in public relations and co-branding with other online brands and influencers.

Don’t forget to optimize your website and create your yearly Holiday Gift Guide, add a dedicated holiday web page complete with insiders tips and favourite products and introducing new products. Take advantage of the buying mood.

If you are an e-Retailer, you have the opportunity to stretch beyond your traditional categories and introduce new categories that normally would not fit or you won’t have space in a brick and mortar location.

5. Expand your social MEDIA platforms

I’m sure you know that we share the stuff we love to our families and friends via social media. This year, 44% of us will also spend the time to discover new products via social networks! In fact, more of us will check out items online, primarily on social media and specifically on Facebook and then go to the store to buy them, primarily to avoid shipping costs.

6. ANNUAL THEMES AND CONTESTS

Today’s shoppers put more hours into online research before they make a purchase. Creating a giveaway is a great way to build excitement and fun for your customers during this special time of the year. Include deals, specials, free shipping or home delivery.

Remember this post is about online marketing, so do look for the right technology for online contests.

7. In-store visits increase ONLINE value

True, many shoppers will be turning to smartphones while shopping at your store, however, these shoppers, according to Caltech, will spend 50% more for items they can see and touch. This suggests that while foot traffic to stores may have declined, the value and experience of in-store visits have increased. This suggests that in addition to introducing new products at your store, promotions just for the holiday season, home delivery, include something dramatic, like a stylist or develop a service excellence attitude.

8. Expand your sales channels

As a local shop, you should expand your sales channels. This can easily be done by selling your products on Amazon or creating a Facebook page and promote that you offer home delivery. Statics has shown that local shops have increased their sales by expanding their sales channels and adding an eCommerce component to their marketing mix.

Let’s start with the definition of Content Marketing, which is the art of socially engaging your brand with your customers and prospective customers via original content produced by you, without selling to them. Read More

As much as social media is becoming popular at the same time, there is a growing misunderstanding of what social media can do for a business.

Let’s first review the social selling program:

Goal: To engage and impress the right people (target market). Stay informed on your prospective customer and customer’s happenings and events.

Social Selling Guide

  1. Set-up the right social media platforms
  2. Find the right people / target market
  3. Create content that sells but doesn’t give away the farm for free!
  4. Start a routine and this could mean a daily posting on your Business Page on LinkedIn and three daily tweets on Twitter and Facebook and a weekly blog posting on your site.

Read More

Let’s first clarify that the term “List Building” may be new but not its goal: to build your subscriber’s list for your newsletter.

List Building versus Lead Generation?

In the world of B2B, developing a newsletter was always important. To generate quality subscribers, we developed a communications program strategy to encourage, engage and entice our prospective clients to subscribe. This was a top priority…ergo, the term Marketing Communications Director.

List Building, demand generation, lead generation are all synonyms and created equally to reach the same goal – to get  your target audience to subscribe. The goal for Lead Generation is actually more specific, it’s to create warm sales leads but for this post, I’ll put them all together.

We want them in our newsletter because the more they know about you, the easier it is to sell to them. The sales process should be shorter. It is a captured targeted audience that wants to hear from you. The only difference is that List Building is primarily based on online marketing tactics, whereas B2B communication programs develop a wider array of tactics that incorporate on and offline tactics, such as webinars, seminars, trade shows and so on.

Why Implement a List Building Program?

It’s becoming obvious, right? Content marketing is unsustainable. How many of us can actually post 16 times a month, create a variety of free reports and info-graphics as well as run our business. Do you find yourself asking where is time better spent, cold calling or writing a blog post?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that content marketing is time-consuming and at times it feels that we are giving away the shop for free! And, as soon as you write something really great, there are 25 others who took your idea.

Plus, the time and effort in developing quality content are now getting drowned out by lots of weak content designed for SEO and commentators who comment just to link with popular blogs.

Even searching on Google is now skewed to websites with large amount of content designed for SEO.

Who needs it?

List Building Tactics

Here are a few tactics:

  1. Free: Create a free course or report where they can download once they subscribe.
  2. Webinars: Try to get another expert to be a part of your webinar. You both promote the webinar to your subscribers while building your brand image.
  3. Social Media Advertising: Yup. At this time, Facebook is affordable and worth a try if your target audience is on this platform. If not, then consider LinkedIn, Pinterest or Twitter.
  4. Google Plus: While Google states that their search engine doesn’t favour companies with large Google Plus fans, SEO experts tend to disagree. So, don’t omit to build this on your social media platforms.
  5. Contests: Who doesn’t love free stuff? Try one of the many new software platforms that incorporate social media fan building with contest example, for every share that’s one entry.
  6. Networking: Local events and conferences are great platforms to expand your network and build your list.
  7. List Building Program: Some programs are free, and you will get a chance to build your list with the other members during the program. However, you just need to make sure that it’s the right target audience for your business.
  8. Opt-In Forms: Have a strong blog or a popular website page, then don’t forget to add that all-important “Call-To-Action” everywhere!
  9. SEO Best Practices: Make sure your website incorporates all SEO best practices. You can do a search on our blog to get started.

Implementation

Remember that you probably won’t get the subscriber numbers you’re looking for if you hold a contest with a small social media following. Not unless they are a very loyal community and will help promote your content.

To build your list, do the following:
  1. Update your website with best practices; SEO, Opt-In Forms, properly organized.
  2. Develop your online community, expand your social media followers and improve your network.
  3. Develop your gated content, such as a case study or webinar
  4. Promote, promote and promote. You can start to tease your community about the content or webinar as you build your community, too.

B2B Marketing Strategy

Designing and implementing a B2B marketing strategy is definitely challenging. There are so many options and sometimes you may even discover you don’t have that many.  Either way, committing to specific marketing strategies can feel like your jumping off a high cliff.

Either way, the result should be a customer-centric and competitively dominant marketing strategies. This can be achieved in not just knowing the core concepts of marketing strategy but also in how to implement an integrated marketing program. Read More