Six Tips for More Effective Video Marketing 

video marketing tips

Online videos are proven to aid customer purchasing decisions1 and are becoming the cornerstones of many brand’s digital strategy. Typically, 80% of viewers remember the video they’ve watched2 and 45% take some kind of action, such as visiting the brand’s website or searching for more information1. So we’ve put together a number of tips to help you use video marketing to boost your sales and increase you leads.

1. It’s not about going viral

Viral videos fail to address your specific target market’s unique needs and problems.

While viral videos may well raise awareness in some cases, if you’re looking to increase leads and sales, chances are you have a specific target market with specific needs and problems. By aiming to go viral, you’ll wind up creating light and generic video that fails to convert users or inspire behavior. In doing so, you’ll forfeit the opportunity to speak directly to your target market about how you can meet their needs or solve their problems.

2. Make every second count

You’ve got to make the first 10 seconds of your video as engaging as a hypnotist's pocket watch.

As with anything else online: when a users load a webpage, opens an email or sees an ad, their first impression is made in a split second. Therefore, online, you don’t have long to encourage the user to hang around. Video marketing is no different, with the first 10 seconds proving critical in keeping viewers tuned in. Plus, with an average of 60% of viewers deserting before the two-minute mark1, you’ve got to make the rest of the video just as captivating. 

3. Make it interactive

For complex subjects or in depth product tutorials, use tools that allow users to interact with video content.

Software such as Touchcast3 lets you embed images, web pages, maps, social media newsfeeds and hyperlinks4 into the your video. Viewers can then interact with content without having to leave the video. Software such as this is great for explaining complicated subjects and demonstrating specific features of products and services and is being used by teachers to better explain things to students4. So, why not use it to better explain your offer to potential customers?

4. Include visuals to enhance mobile usability

Many mobile users watch videos without sound, so make sure you include enough visuals so that your video can be understood on mute.

Mobile and tablet users are three times more likely to watch online videos than their laptop and desktop counterparts5, so optimizing your videos for mobile consumption is imperative. On mobile, a lot of people have their device on silent or watch videos in public spaces without sound enabled. Therefore, your video has to be fully understood on mute.

5. Pick the right host

YouTube vs Vimeo

Where to host your video is entirely dependent on the objectives behind its creation. However, the most important factor in choosing a host is that it’s reliable6.

YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world7 and has billions of visits per month8. It’s therefore the best place to host videos that you intend to reach a wide audience with. However, it’s not the only online video host to choose from.

A strong rival to YouTube is Vimeo. Vimeo only allows videos that are 100% created by the user, so you tend to find more creative videos there. Therefore, if you’re using animation or putting together something quite creative, Vimeo is for you.

6. Use natural social platforms

Uploading your videos onto social platforms directly ensure it plays seamlessly from the newsfeed.

Rather than share your YouTube or Vimeo link across your social networks, upload your video to your chosen social platform directly. Although this means that you’ll have duplicated content, and have to rack up the viewership across each platform, you will vastly enhance the user experience through ensuring that videos play seamlessly on each network.

Through following the above guidance, you’ll soon be making captivating videos for your specific target market that are geared for conversions.

References

1 http://www.videobrewery.com/blog/18-video-marketing-statistics

2 http://www.digitalsherpa.com/blog/25-amazing-video-marketing-statistics/

3 http://www.touchcast.com

4 http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/04/touchcast-pcs/

5 http://www.virtuets.com/45-video-marketing-statistics/

6 http://www.socialnomics.net/2013/12/03/video-marketing-the-basics/

7 http://www.socialmediafrontiers.com/2013/10/video-sharing-sites-vimeo-vs-youtube-vs.html#.VA0820voYy4

8 http://blog.qstion.com/youtube/vimeo-vs-youtube-vs-dailymotion-pros-and-cons-of-each-one

Monday, September 15, 2014 3:47:00 PM Categories: content development inbound marketing social media marketing

How to Generate Leads Online WITHOUT a Website 

tips to generate leads without a website

It’s the question that teeters on the tip of every business owner’s tongue when they consider leaping into the digital space for the first time: how can the internet help me generate more leads?

Typically, the thing to do is to build a website. Having an online base where customers can make purchases or receive services is logical for any business wishing to grow digitally.

But what if you don’t have a website yet? What if you don’t have the budget? What if you’re still skeptical about online? What if you don’t trust the internet?

There are plenty of small business owners that think along these lines and us simply telling you that you need a website might not necessarily be the way to break you into the digital landscape if you’re hesitant or uncomfortable with it. There’s a plethora of opportunities out there that’ll let you dip your big toe into the ocean of the internet without having to go through the expenditure of creating a website straight away. You can warm yourself up by trying some of the following:

Register to Google My Business1

When you register with Google My Business, you’ll give your business a great chance of being found online through:

  • Being featured on Google Maps, so potential customers will see your business location when browsing the map
  • Showing up in Local searches - If you have a restaurant in Seattle and a user searches for ‘restaurants in Seattle’, you’ll give yourself a good chance of being in the right place at the right time on the Google search results pages
  • Having a presence on Google Plus, Google’s social network with over 300 million users2, will help your business tap into new markets through engaging with users there

Create a Facebook Page

Facebook now has over 1 billion monthly active users3 so, chances are, there’s an untapped market for your small business there somewhere. To generate leads on Facebook, there are a few tools at your disposal, including:

Brand Pages. Through creating a brand page, you’ll have your very own space on Facebook. From here, you can post pictures and videos, write articles or updates, share product deals and special offers, service enhancements or changes and engage with potential leads

Advertising. You can use Facebook advertising to reach a wider audience for your page. In theory, the more people that discover your page, the more potential you have to turn those followers into leads

Get a Twitter Handle

Twitter is a great place to generate leads through:

  • Engaging with users in real time. People respond quickly on Twitter. Five minutes is a lifetime. That’s great because you can have a natural conversion with people and build relationships in real time.
  • Handling customer complaints and queries. Repair relationships and show potential leads you care
  • Share photos and articles that you enjoy and show potential leads some of your brand personality
  • Share company news and updates to keep current and potential customers in the loop, bringing them closer to your brand

Plus, you can also use Twitter to conduct competition research. Find out what your competitors are up to: What are they doing? How are people engaging? Can you learn something from them? Can you do better? This will help you stay on top of your game and develop your Twitter marketing approach.

Yelp for Business

Yelp is predominantly used by hospitality businesses such as pubs, bars and restaurants and is a place where user’s can leave reviews of your business and upload photos. Yelp is a great way to encourage word of mouth and generate leads through:

  • Responding to customer reviews and strengthening relationships with current or past customers. This is a great way to show potential customers that you value your customers and don’t take them for granted4
  • Uploading photos of your business to show potential customers what to expect and show off your facilities, food, venue etc.4

Plus, similar to Twitter, Yelp is a great place to conduct some competitor research based on actual user feedback.

Join Trip Advisor

Similar to Yelp, but broader, Trip Advisor caters for the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry5 and again allows customers to leave reviews, upload photos and rate your business. Potential customers can search for or stumble across your business and these peer reviews can help you generate enquiries.

Again, as with Yelp, be sure to respond to customer reviews and ratings, as it shows potential customers that you’re attentive and that you care. It also gives you a chance to repair negative reviews and relationships.

Locate Foursquare

Foursquare is location-based app that allows your customers to ‘check in’ to your business and share their location with their friends across Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. On Foursquare, you have the potential to connect with 20 million people6, each of who may have hundreds of friends, fans and followers who could help amplify your reach further still.

More or less any business with a physical location can join Foursquare, providing you fit into one of the following categories6:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • College & University
  • Food
  • Nightlife Spot
  • Outdoors & Recreation
  • Professional & Other Places
  • Residence
  • Shop & Service
  • Travel & Transport

Once you’re on Foursquare, you can offer discounts, promotions and special offers to customers who check in, which will also help encourage potential customers to check you out.

Scratching the Surface

These services are only a drop in the ocean compared to everything that’s available online to help your small business succeed without having a website. Of course, a website would pull all of the above together, integrate your entire digital strategy and provide the hub for all of the above activity to center around, but you don’t have to have one straight away in order to benefit from the services that are out there at the moment.

However, if you want to jump straight in with the creation of a website or if you’re familiar or use all of the above and want to pull everything together in one place, then give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

 

References

1 http://www.fasttrackteam.com/a-simple-tip-thatll-help-your-sme-generate-more-leads.aspx

2 http://marketingland.com/google-hits-300-million-active-monthly-in-stream-users-540-million-across-google-63354

3 http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2014/01/29/facebook-passes-1-23-billion-monthly-active-users-945-million-mobile-users-757-million-daily-users/

4 http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/yelp/

5 http://www.reviewtrackers.com/8-terrific-tripadvisor-tips-businesses/

6 http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/foursquare-marketing-tips/

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Posted by Thursday, September 4, 2014 1:52:00 PM Categories: inbound marketing online marketing web trends website

What is Website Security and Why You Need It 

importance of website security

Having effective and reliable website security helps to build trust and confidence between you and your customers. It is important to protect your site from outside attacks and to keep customer information confidential and secured.

Security is a measure of how safe your website and its data are from hackers.

A secure website is of paramount importance to your business. Websites are under continual attack by hackers, looking to steal funds or personal information of your clients or, in some cases, take control of the website and change it for their purposes. Even a single security breach can be disastrous to your company, both financially and in terms of the trust you have built with your clients in safeguarding their personal information.

Ultimately, higher customer confidence means higher sales through repeat orders and customer loyalty.

Typically, there are key pages in your site where it is important to reinforce security, namely:

  • Log-in page
  • Using the shopping cart
  • Creating an account

You can maximize your site security by limiting administrative access to your site. Device a difficult password which cannot be easily decoded. Change your site password regularly.

If your website platform doesn’t offer these services, check our Power Site. Fast Track’s fully customizable website solution that includes all of the latest features including a CMS, eCommerce, SEO and more.

 

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Posted by Wednesday, September 3, 2014 2:05:00 PM Categories: online marketing web development website

The Future of Facebook Marketing For Your Business 

future of facebook marketing for business

There may well be over a billion active monthly users on Facebook1, but the social networking giant is going through a phase of change that’ll affect how businesses conduct their social media marketing efforts on the platform in the future.

What’s Changed?

No longer is Facebook a parent-free haven for raving teens and 20-somethings. It’s no longer a place where the young go to hang out, have fun, get drunk and share embarrassing photos. Nope, Facebook has matured and is now brimming with these teen’s, moms and dads, and even grandparents.

We all know that kids enjoy hanging around with their parents as much as an insomniac enjoys the sight of the clock striking 3 a.m., and having your outraged mother commenting on your picture of a phallus-shaped turnip with a “stop being so rude and take this off!”, doesn’t do much for your street cred. So the teens and 20-somethings are heading to cooler, trendier, parent-free places2  like like Instagram (hence why Facebook bought Instagram), Snapchat, Tumblr and Twitter3, leaving Facebook to mature. So what does that mean for the future of marketing on the network?

The Facebook Marketing Future

Well, this will depend on your business, your products, services and your target market. Those looking to sell cool, innovative and fashionable novelties to the younger generation will see their Facebook efforts begin to falter, especially if Facebook keep shoehorning those brands into paying for ads, which those of the younger generation that are left on Facebook, are hard-wired to ignore.

However, those that market products and services to a more mature clientele could see Facebook marketing pay-off for them today and more so in the future. The older generation of baby boomers and the fleeing teen’s parents that are beginning to find their mortgage-free homes empty of once-needy children, have plenty of spare cash floating around the bank and plenty of free time to spend on the network. All that time, attention and money may well be up for grabs for the right business. 

Back to Basics

The Facebook marketing game is certainly changing and, as the network begins to reach maturity, it’ll be less about being cool, ‘going viral’ and being innovative and more about keeping it simple, doing the basics well and reaching the right people with the right product at the right time. Isn’t that what marketing has always been about?

Some things never change.

 

References

1 http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2014/01/29/facebook-passes-1-23-billion-monthly-active-users-945-million-mobile-users-757-million-daily-users/

2 http://business.time.com/2014/01/15/more-than-11-million-young-people-have-fled-facebook-since-2011/

3 http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-where-the-fleeing-facebook-teens-are-going-2014-1

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 1:38:00 PM Categories: content development SEO social media social media marketing

How to Turn Your 404 Not Found Page Into a Lead Generating Machine 

404 Not Found page

A 404 Not Found page is the eye-saw that’s shown to users when your web server can’t find the page that the user is searching for. The default 404 Not Found page is about as much help as a drunken tour guide and effectively tells users that you’re not open for business. Every person that hits a default 404 Not Found page is, without a shadow of a doubt, a lost lead1.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. What if you could take all of those users, and turn them into leads, or better yet, sales? Well, you can and it's actually not that difficult.

Before we delve into the specifics of how to turn your 404 Not Found traffic into leads, let’s take a look at what might cause this dreaded beast to rear its ugly head in the first place.

Why Do 404 Not Found Pages Exist?

404 Not Found pages exist to tell users that the web page they are searching for can’t be found on the server. Users will come across a 404 Not Found page when one of the following happens:

• You've deleted or moved the page in question2  

• You forgot to redirect an old link3

• A user misspells a URL3

• A user follows a broken or dead link

A default 404 Not Found page tells your user that they've hit a dead end. It's a locked door. It's a barrier preventing them from finding what they came there to find. They can scare casual and non-technical users and lead to a higher bounce rate1, which means lost leads.

Most of the time, when an unsuspecting user lands on a 404 Not Found page, it’s your fault as the website owner for not taking care of your site when you redesign it or make changes. So instead of slamming the door in your potential customers face and presenting them with a problem, you should instead try offering them a solution. That's where customized 404 Not Found pages come in.

Capture Leads With a Custom 404 Not Found Page

Through the use of a custom 404 Not Found page, you can provide alternatives that put the user back on the right track. Instead of showing them the problem, you can provide a solution.

What Makes a Good Custom 404 Not Found Page?

Keep it simple, don’t try and be too flashy. It is still a page that’s sole purpose is to let the user know that what they are searching for isn’t there and that they might be able to find it elsewhere. 

Here’s a few examples of some good 404 Not Found pages:

http://www.hardrock.com/error404 

http://www.bluefountainmedia.com/error404 

http://southpark.cc.com/error404 

http://www.tinsanity.net/404.shtml 

http://rbardini.com/p/404/ 

http://www.rollingstones.com/404 

http://www.darkpony.com/404 

http://www.cobalt.com/404 

The Fast Track 404 Not Found page4 is also a great example of a simple, straight to the point page that firstly apologizes for what’s happened (remember, it's mostly our fault) and then offers an alternative route for the user to try and find what they were looking for via the site map. This way, we don't loose the user’s attention and we instead tempt them into our site, rather than waving goodbye

.

There are plenty of techniques that the examples above have used to optimize their 404 Not Found pages and turn locked doors into potential leads.

404 Not Found Page Design Dos and Don'ts

DO:

• Apologize. It's probably your fault one way or another 

Explain what might have happened and how the user can correct it: 'the website you're coming from has an outdated link', 'this page might have been deleted’1, 'check the URL for misspellings’5

  • Provide a solution: include a site map, search facility and/or links to your most popular products or posts5. This will help users get back on track and will act as bait to attract potential leads
  • Use images or video to provide some positive entertainment 
  • Make sure the design and tone of voice is the same as the rest of your site1
  • Use a distinct, minimalist look6 - it’s still a 404 page after all  
  • Have fun - it's OK to have a laugh with it and show some personality as long as you're providing a solution

DON'T

  • Blame the user, it's not their fault7
  • Just link to your home page. The user was looking for something specific, not your generic home page. 
  • Use all the tabs and sidebars on your normal website
  • Redirect users to a ‘related' page8. There’ll be a disjoint in their journey. If I ask for an apple and you give me an orange, it doesn't make a difference if they're both round, you still haven't given me what I asked for. 
  • Provide a contact us option. Chances are, they haven't hit a 404 while they were looking for your contact details
  • Be too clever or crazy9 unless your brand personality allows 
  • Force-feed products and services - I know we're trying to increase leads, and forcing things down people's throats might have been how brands of the 90s did things, but it's not how to sell these days.

Show Respect and You’ll Gain Leads

A custom 404 Not Found page shows your users the respect that they deserve. It allows you to offer an invitation and a get out clause from the blockage that they’ve unwillingly found. It’s a chance to repair the relationship before it breaks down and an opportunity to earn your user’s trust. By following these guidelines, you’ll do just that and give yourself the best opportunity to turn strangers into friends.

 

References

1 http://perishablepress.com/pimp-your-404/

2 https://yoast.com/thoughts-404-not-found/

3 http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2293339/404-Page-Best-Practices

4 http://www.fasttrackteam.com/pagenotfound

5 https://yoast.com/404-error-pages-wordpress/

6 http://alistapart.com/article/perfect404

7 http://www.blogussion.com/design/404-error-page-exist/

8 http://www.rimmkaufman.com/blog/seo-and-404-pages/01022013/

9 http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/5-tips-to-make-your-404-page-more-usable/

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Posted by Wednesday, September 3, 2014 12:58:00 AM Categories: landing pages web design website
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