Referral Marketing Beginner’s Guide

Referral Marketing Beginner's Guide - Power Marketing InternationalReferral marketing, or word-of-mouth marketing, excels at creating sales and conversions. Referral marketing is at work anytime someone makes a purchase at least partly based on someone else’s opinion of a product or service. It works because people trust the opinions of people they know and respect, even if they are skeptical of traditional advertisements.

Referral marketing is not limited to the opinions of friends and family, but also includes the opinions found in news publications, customer reviews, and product testimonials.

According to Richard Lazazzera, a content strategist at Shopify, referral marketing works for three reasons:

  1. Precision Targeting
  2. Trust Factor
  3. Reach and Acceleration

Let’s dig into these concepts.

Precision Targeting

Referral marketing is inherently targeted because people tend to know their social circles well, and are able to share products and services they know will be well received. They likely share many interests with people in their social circles, so if they like a product enough to mention it, it is likely it will be received well by their friends.

Trust Factor

A Neilson Trust Study showed referrals are by far the most trusted form of advertising. 84% of people said they trusted referrals from friends, 68% said they trusted consumer opinions posted online, and 67% said they trusted editorial content posted online. Compare that to only 48% that said they trusted search engine advertisements.

Reach and Acceleration

Social media has made referral marketing more powerful than ever. Not long ago the social reach of the average person was limited to the people they talked to in person or on the phone, but now people are only a Facebook post, Tweet, or Instagram pic away from instantly sharing their thoughts and opinions with hundreds or thousands of likeminded people.

How to Implement Referral Marketing

Now that we’ve looked at why referral marketing is effective, let’s move on to implementation.

Provide an Exceptional Experience

Depending on your business this may be customer service, or a buying experience, or even the user interface for your software or hardware. The most important thing for referral marketing is creating an exceptional experience that your user will want to share and talk about with other people.

Make Your Products or Service Shareable

If you are running an ecommerce store, this could mean focusing on creating packaging that provides a share-worthy experience.  (A cottage industry of “unboxing videos” has actually sprung up on YouTube over the last few years.) Apple excels at this. The process of unboxing any of their physical products is designed to be compelling and beautiful.

If you are running an event or conference, this could be encouraging users to tweet or post to Instagram with an official hashtag.

Implement a Referral Program

If you are running an online store, you can encourage users to share your products by setting up a referral program that rewards customers for sharing your products with their friends. Here are a few companies that have referral program systems you can tap into for your store:

FriendBuy
Referral Candy
LoyaltyLion
S Loyalty

Reviews and Testimonials

If you run an online store, make sure to implement a review feature on your product page. A few good reviews assure a potential customer that actual people have enjoyed your product. If you are not an online retailer, you can list testimonials from clients about their positive experiences with your company.

This is Just the Beginning

I hope this has given you a good foundation to get started with referral marketing. If you would like help with referral marketing, social media marketing, or web design, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

 

This post is based on an article by Richard Lazazzera – Referral Marketing 101: 7 Tactics to Launch Your Own Referral Campaign

 

That’s Not How Content Marketing Works

Content Marketing does not work this way. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, York, Lebanon, Pennsylvania and beyond with services to develop your online marketing strategy.There is a common myth that surrounds content marketing and how it works. This myth hurts businesses, content marketers, and anyone who plans and strategizes the content a brand creates to promote itself and its products. It is a misconception of what content marketing can and cannot achieve.

The myth goes something like this: You can create a blog post, and after someone reads that blog post, they will buy something from you. (Feel free to replace “blog post” with “podcast”, “video”, or whatever content you happen to produce.)

That’s Not How Content Marketing Works

Many people think that the reason you produce a piece of content is so that someone will read/listen/view that content and will be inspired to make a purchase.

Even if you promote this piece of content on social media, and it gets shared a healthy number of times on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, this still doesn’t mean that the people who shared and consumed it are going to sign up for whatever it is you are selling.

This is simply not how content marketing works.

How Content Marketing Works

First you must create new content and share it on social media, and repeat this process over and over again until you get good at it. You need to keep at it and continue to improve until you find the type of content that will resonate with your audience. This is as much about improving as a content producer as it is a trial-and-error process!

And once you have done this, it is almost never the case that someone will stumble upon our content, without having any kind of history with your brand, and then decide to purchase from you.

What does happen, then? People will consume your content many times (because you are creating a lot of it and sharing it!), and they will start to form a positive image of your brand. Because you are creating valuable, interesting content, they will look at you as a trusted resource. Then when they are in need of the service or product you offer, they will remember your brand and the many positive interactions they’ve had with your content.

Even if they don’t remember your brand, they will most likely perform a web search for the type of product or service you offer. And because they have been to your site many times, it will show up higher in their personal Google search results, and now that they have the need and they have a positive image of your brand in mind, they will purchase from you.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Keep this model in mind so that you don’t get discouraged when your first few blog posts/YouTube videos/podcasts don’t immediately drum up sales. It is the companies that keep producing valuable content that earn their customer’s mindshare and eventually their patronage.

This post is based on a YouTube video by Rand Fishkin — Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing

Online Marketing: 4 Keys to a Better LinkedIn Company Page

Online marketing tips for using LinkedIn to create an effective Company Page. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, York, Lebanon, Pennsylvania and beyond with services to develop your online marketing strategy.According to LinkedIn, more than 3 million companies have created Company Pages to connect with 225+ million professionals.  A Company Page helps LinkedIn members learn about your business, brand, products and services, and job opportunities.  Any LinkedIn member can follow a Company Page and research shows that 50% of LinkedIn members are more likely to purchase from companies when they engage with them on LinkedIn.  Plus, LinkedIn pages often perform well in company searches, thereby improving your search engine rankings, making your LinkedIn company page worthy of a role in your online marketing efforts.

See the SlideShare presentation below for some great LinkedIn company pages to inspire your efforts. You can click on the pages to see them live.

4 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Company page

An effective Company Page doesn’t just happen – it takes strategy and time.  Here are 4 tips to maximize the effectiveness of your Company Page.

#1. Tell Your Audience What You Do Best and Give Them a Reason to Follow You

  • LinkedIn offers a “products and services page” – Use it!  Marketers who build up that page tend to attract twice as many company followers.
  • Include links to your white pages, case studies, videos, and how-to content.

#2. Do Your Homework – Take Advantage of Built-In Features

  • Edit your description so that it leads with powerful, keyword-rich sentences to make it more SEO-friendly.
  • Don’t forget your company contact information, descriptions of your offerings, and your areas of expertise.
  • Encourage your customers to write a recommendation for your product and/or service on your LinkedIn Company Page.

#3. Engage your audience

  • Encouraging a two-way conversation will help convert your audience into customers.
  • Post updates about your company – news, events, new employees and products, awards and honors, etc.
  • Keep your content short and start with the most important information first. This is how journalists write.
  • Include a picture, chart, or link whenever possible.
  • Ask questions to engage your audience.
  • Communicate with the voice and brand of your company.
  • The easiest way to turn off your followers is to give them the hard-sell.  This is a big no-no.  Instead, foster an informative dialogue regularly to keep your company at the top of prospects’ minds.
  • LinkedIn’s targeted updates allow you to tailor your message to your audience.
  • Encourage your audience to engage by liking, sharing and commenting on your posts.Engage your colleagues – Employees are 70% more likely to engage with your company updates.Use a multi-channel approach – Include a link to your LinkedIn Company Page everywhere, such as your email signature,   and include a follow button on your website.

#4. Analyze & Improve

The “page insights” and “analytics” on your Company Page are awesome tools that can help you focus and refine your LinkedIn strategy.

  • Page Insights show page views and unique visitors and page clicks over the last 7 days. It also displays charts showing data on page views by tab, Products and Services page clicks, and more.
  • Analytics: Use LinkedIn Analytics to leverage metrics and to reveal trends about your company page.
  • Monitor your Engagement %.  Noting which updates have higher engagement rates will help you understand what topics or types of posts engage your audience the most, allowing you to optimize future content.
  • Review your demographics. This tool provides a snapshot of your followers and allows you to tailor your content.
  • Know how you Compare. Knowing how your page compares with your competitors’ page can help refine your LinkedIn strategy.

If you want to keep your customers and prospects informed and keep your company name top of mind, an effective LinkedIn Company Page is a great tool.

Need help developing a better online strategy for your business? Contact PMI today to arrange a free initial consultation.

This post is based on an article by Jason Miller – 5 LinkedIn Company Page Tips to Enhance Your Marketing.

8 Online Marketing Tips for Stronger Calls to Action

In our last post we covered the types of calls to action (CTA’s) every website should have. In this post we’ll cover ways boost your online marketing results by making your CTA’s more effective and persuasive.

One of the best ways to move leads through the sales funnel (and eventually convert prospects into customers) is with a compelling call to action. As people browse your marketing material, they want to know what to do next. A strong call to action – a clear, simple, and compelling offer that persuades them to take the action you want – lets them know what to do.

A call to action may include asking your readers to …

  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Share the content on their social media channel
  • Download or read additional content
  • Enter a contest
  • Register for a conference
  • Make a purchase

Here are 8 ways to tweak your CTAs to significantly increase conversion rate: 

1.  Use actionable language

Keep it simple and concise, and use action verbs, such as discover, unearth, find, learn, and download.  Here’s an example: “Download E-book and Template Now.”

2. Align CTA copy with your landing page

Make sure the wording used in the CTA is the same as the wording used on the landing page you send them to.  If you ask someone to download a “crash course” on SEO, it may be confusing to call it an “ebook” on the landing page.

3. Include a clear value proposition

Let your readers know the benefit of clicking on your CTA.   Provide a brief description of what happens when they click on it; Will they save time?  Will they save money?  Will they become experts in SEO?

4. Play up the time-sensitivity

People are busy. One of the best ways to keep your reader focused on your CTA is to create a sense of urgency and encourage your readers to click on your CTA right now.  You can do that by using words like “now” or “today” on your CTA button.

5. Make sure they see it

To make sure that people don’t simply skim over your CTA, make it large, and make it pop off the page with contrasting design. Placing your CTA above the fold will usually result in more clicks. Placing it below the fold typically results in higher-quality leads (because they took the time to read past the fold and therefore tend to be more interested).  Wherever you place it, you want it to get noticed.

6. Make the button look clickable

Make it clear that it is a button that can be clicked on.  You can do this with shading, borders, or contouring to give it a 3-D look.

7. Add alt text

There are still many people who have problems displaying images in their browsers.  They may get an error, or maybe they purposely block images from appearing.  Including alt text in your CTA allows your reader to see it no matter what, and alt text can help boost your SEO.

8. Personalize CTAs for different segments of your audience

With the right software, you can tailor your CTA to only appear to a select group, so that visitors, leads, and customers each see something different.

Online marketing tips to make your calls to action (CTA's) more effective. From PMI, offering online marketing services to Reading PA, Philadelphia, Allentown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and beyond.Summing it Up

Although there is no magic formula for the perfect CTA, these tips should help.  You still need to continue tweaking copy, design, sizing, placement, etc. and testing what works best for you.  If you need help developing better calls to action for your marketing campaigns, please contact us.

This post is based on “The Complete Checklist for Creating Compelling Calls-to-Action” by Ginny Soskey.

Facebook Marketing: 5 Ways to use Facebook’s Embedding Tool

How to use Facebook's embed tool to improve your social media marketing resultsFacebook has a great new feature that allows you to embed posts from most Facebook pages or profiles onto your website or blog.  It can be a great tool for your social media marketing strategy, and it’s very simple to use. 

Here are five ways you can use this new feature to boost your social media marketing strategy:

1.      Demonstrate Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that has been used by marketers for many years. Facebook’s new feature allows you to demonstrate social proof on your website/blog by embedding positive posts made on your Facebook page onto your website/ blog.

2.      Quote Reference Sources

Create interactive material on your website/blog by sharing posts with interesting statistics or quotes onto your website/blog.  You can also use this opportunity to share your post with the person quoted.  Once your post goes live, share the link with the person you quoted, letting him or her know that you shared the post.

3.      Extend the Reach of your Social Media

If you have a video you would like to post, consider posting it on your Facebook page first; then sharing the embedded post with the video on your website.  This way, people can either like it from the embedded post or through your Facebook post.

4.      Boost Social Media Engagement

Consider embedding your discussion post within your blog content for more exposure.  This added exposure will most likely get more discussion on your Facebook post, which can be a great way to boost your EdgeRank on Facebook AND turn your website visitors and blog readers into engaged members of your page.

5.      Show off your Best Facebook Content

Many bloggers like to show off their best content by adding posts such as “Best Posts of 2013.”  Why not highlight your most popular Facebook posts as well?  Create a post with your best Facebook content to show your website visitors and blog readers how engaging your Facebook page is, which could lead to more likes and more engaged Facebook fans. 

The mechanics of Facebook Embedded Posts

To embed a Facebook post onto your website or blog, simply click on the drop-down arrow at the top right corner of the post.  Click on “Embed Post.”  A box will popup showing how the post will appear, along with the code to use.  Copy this code and paste it where you want it on your website or blog.

A few things to keep in mind when embedding Facebook posts:

  • The privacy settings used by the person who created the post will determine whether or not you can embed that post.
  •  You cannot embed public posts from within groups or comments on a Facebook post.
  •  Any embedded post from a Facebook page includes a Like button, so embedding posts onto your website or blog could help boost your number of fans.
  • If you use embedded posts from someone else’s profile or page, your website visitors and blog readers could click through to them.

This article is based on a post by Kristi Hines entitled 6 Creative Ways to Use Embedded Facebook Posts.  http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/embedded-facebook-posts/#more-46266