Posts By: Engage Target Media

Use Pinterest as Your Marketing Partner

Pinterest-logoPinterest is now valued at 11 billion dollars after a recent infusion of venture capital funding. The user base keeps expanding and Pinterest is rolling out new changes that just might prove to help with your marketing strategy.

We’ve talked about Pinterest in this space before. Most notably about how Pinterest is not just for women – perhaps one of the greater misconceptions about the website. In fact, men are now the fastest-growing demographic. At last count, males accounted for 12 million Pinterest users. That is more than the subscription base of GQ, Esquire and Sports Illustrated magazines combined!

To get men (and women) to pin (and buy) from you, make sure your website has pages with your products and services that are pinnable. To do this, check out this Pinterest page on how to build a Pin It button.

So, here are some ways you can take your marketing up a notch with Pinterest.

  1. Take Advantage of Improved Search Functionality

Pinterest has recently updated their search feature. Search results are now more relevant to the user. So to make sure you are found in the new Pinterest Guided Search, always include descriptions in your pins and pinboards that are keyword-rich. Use keywords that are unique to you and your business.

You can even influence how your blog post images are found in Pinterest! When you upload an image to your website or social media site, make sure you include “Alt Text” for each image. Pinterest automatically reads this “Alt Text” when someone pins your image. When they do, your “Alt Text” becomes the default description for that image.

Additionally, Pinterest’s Guided Search looks at pin descriptions to determine which pins are relevant to show in user searches. So be sure your “Alt Text” includes keywords relevant to your business and the image.

  1. Enhance User Experience with Rich PinsPinIt-1cwcc34

A Rich Pin is a special pin that offers more information than regular pins on Pinterest. There are five
types of Rich Pins: Article, Product, Recipe, Movie and Place.

The most likely ones for business use are the Article, Product and Place pins. These are not just for big brands. Bloggers and website owners can add Rich Pins to their content.

As an example, an Article Pin could include a blog post headline and the article’s introduction below the image. A Place Pin could show a map of your business location and driving directions. Once you have added Rich Pins to your website and blog posts, the data populates to Pinterest when someone pins your image.

There are three steps to adding Rich Pins to your online content.

  1. Add Open Graph or Schema.org markup to individual posts or pages of your site.
  2. Use the Pinterest Rich Pin Validator to make sure Pinterest sees your Rich Pin data.
  3. If Pinterest gives you the thumbs-up, click “Apply now” in the validator to submit your Rich Pin to Pinterest. Make sure to select “HTML tags” when you’re applying.

If your blog or website is built on WordPress, use the Yoast SEO plugin to add Open Graph data to your posts for the most Rich Pin types. There are several WordPress plugins available to make the process easier.

Learn more about Rich Pins with this Pinterest article.

  1. Buy Promoted Pins

Yes! Pinterest is launching advertising! Using the Pinterest Promoted Pins program, you can get your pins placed in other users’ feeds.

Promoted Pins blend seamlessly ith other non-paid pins in a user’s feed. At the time we posted this blog, Pinterest ad prices are considerably less than other social media sites. The Promoted Pins program is only available to U.S.-based businesses at this time.

One blogger and graphic designer is using Promoted Pins to direct users to a blog she posted with a call-to-action for a PDF of the blogger’s branding guide.

The blogger is getting a 74 percent opt-in rate on that blog post. That means a huge majority of Pinterest users are signing up for the guide after reading the post. With similar Promoted Pin campaigns, the blogger brings in 800 to 1,000 new subscribers every month. All this for less than $125 for the Pinterest ads.

For information on how to set up Promoted Pins, which will help you reach more people on Pinterest, see this Pinterest page about starting your first campaign.

  1. Prepare for Pinterest’s Buyable Pins

zcXeRe7MiIn early June, Pinterest announced they are going to allow users to buy products directly from the Pinterest Mobile App. Once launched, users will see a blue “Buy It” button on items that are available for direct checkout through the mobile app.

If you use Shopify as your shopping cart service for your website, you can get the “Buy It” button for your products now. You can also get on the waiting list for Buyable Pins by clicking this link. Pinterest will alert you when Buyable Pins are more widely available.

Click here for more information on Buyable Pins

Embedding big and bold graphics and images into your online content is more important than ever. Images encourage your users to share your work and Pinterest is a great place to share. There are many tools and resources to help you create compelling graphics. If you’re not an artist, or if you are not on speaking terms with a cousin who is, check out Canva for a free, online design your own graphic website.

You can also find high quality, royalty free, stock photography to purchase at Dollar Photo Club. All photos are just a dollar.

You can also find graphic artists that can design for you at Fiverr where prices start at just $5.

The Pinterest user base is growing; with these new Pinterest tools, now is a great time to consider adding Pinterest to your marketing mix. Your current and potential customers are on Pinterest looking for content and products like yours! Let them know you have what they want!

4 Ways to Get Customer Testimonials

testimonial-01Your job as a business is to win over the trust of potential customers who are not quite ready to do
business with you. Customers are like hoodwinked children. They are cynical and defensive about anything they hear or read. However, if a friend, or someone they know and trust, tells them something, they are inclined to believe it without question.

To make a prospective customer care about your business, you need to show them how you can make their life easier or better. Then, you need to follow through and prove it. The conventional way to prove a claim is to present positive testimonials, endorsements, or media articles and mentions about your business.

You probably already praise your business. However, statements you make about yourself just don’t have the same impact as statements that come from others. Especially testimonial-03happy, satisfied customers.

To convince a cynical potential customer – someone that may not be sure about becoming your customer – you need to let them know your current customers think you’re great. There are ways you can generate proof your business is sound and performs exceptional work.   What follows are four ways to help generate positive testimonials from your customers.

  1. Ask

The simplest way to get positive testimonials is to ask. Do this as a part of thanking your customer for their business. Send an email, or follow-up letter to each of your customers that says something like:

Testimonial-request-USE IN BODY

When your customer responds, you have your testimonial. Collect them all and use excerpts of the best lines that exemplify why others should do business with you.

  1. Create unique experiences

A few years ago, fishing hat manufacturer Tilley sent customers a letter congratulating them on purchasing one of their hats. The letter included tips on caring for the hat and made a pitch for some of their other products.

testimonial-04On the back of the letter was an “Insurance Certificate.” Should the hat become lost or stolen, the
certificate allowed a half-priced replacement hat. This unique promotion made the buying experience different. While a half-priced replacement may not work for all businesses, consider if an “insurance” idea is right for your product or service.

So why do something like this? When you have the opportunity to deliver unique experiences to your customers, follow up! After the sale, email your customers for their thoughts about doing business with you and the buying experience. Their responses become your testimonials.

  1. Recruit volunteers

If you are introducing a new product or service and have a Facebook, or other social media group, use your community to find willing testers during your launch period. Offer a pre-determined number of testers a half-price or even a free service in return for their permission to use their comments as testimonials.

It is important to remember to return the favor when you are asked to test a new product or service. Be sure to offer written comments than can be used as a testimonial for the product or service.

  1. Build relationships with credible experts

Ever read a recommendation for a new book? In the publishing world, authors often get influential people to recommend their books. This gives potential readers positive comments about the book from high-profile people.

testimonial-02So how do you approach a credible expert, someone who may get many of these requests? The smart way to approach this is to always be cultivating relationships over time. Always offer your assistance and always offer to be useful in general long before you ever conceive of your product idea.

If you are building meaningful relationships with others on social media, it should be easy to ask for input from experts. You can always find local experts to recommend your product or service. You could even ask the mayor or other well-liked city officials to try your business in exchange for permission to use their written recommendation as a testimonial.

You can also hire an expert to try your product or service. As a part of this agreement, use the expert’s name and testimonial when promoting your product.

Always ask for feedback

When you openly communicate with your social media audience and encourage their feedback, you can end up with some great testimonials. Keep your testimonials in one place so it is easy to draw from them when you create content.

If you make collecting customer comments a priority, eventually you’ll have thousands of potential testimonials and endorsements to choose from when you need to dispel doubt in the minds of cynical and defensive customers.

Meet Your New Website Driver: Video

 
video-productionWe’ve talked about video in social media in this space previously: Why video is important and how to use video. Regular readers already know we think believe video should be a vital part of any social media campaign, but what about your website?

Good for you if you’ve been using video in your social media. Don’t overlook your website. Videos are a great way to drive traffic to your website. Here’s a couple of ideas you may want to incorporate into your website marketing.

People Want Answers

Have you ever found yourself researching a topic on Google and discovered there were not only articles about your topic, but videos? Admit it; you probably went to that YouTube video before you clicked on an article. One great way to bring in new traffic to your website is to address those common questions your business gets with a video. People learn twice as fast when they see and hear what is being explained.

Think about how many times you’ve answered a customer’s question by demonstrating or showing them the answer. Make that demonstration into a video and post it on your website. However, don’t stop there. Include a link to that video on your social media sites with the question. It’s an easy way to increase traffic to your website and get the post shared. Which leads us to our second point.

Videos are More Likely to go Viralviral-marketing-word-mouth-38123871

When was the last time you read a news article that was “viral?” When it comes to viral content, it
seems like nine out of ten viral items are video. Yes, there may be text with the video, but the item went viral because of the video.

You may be thinking that your video may never see a million views. There’s more. The concept of
something going viral has more to do with how rapidly it is shared than how many actually see it.   Viral content is something shared with a wide network of people. Your video may not reach a thousand views, but however many see it you can leverage. If someone shares your video, they are more likely to return to your website and begin a relationship with you. Isn’t that more worth boasting about than having a million views?

Embed Everywhere

One of the great things about video is you can host the video on one platform – like YouTube or Vimeo – and then link to the video on your website and your social media sites without having to upload the video multiple times.

Embed the video in your website. YouTube, Vimeo and other video sites provide you with the URL to the video. On Facebook, including the URL address in your post will automatically create a special image and link to the video (or page). Just paste the full URL (include the “http://” part also).

If you run across a video you like that is relevant to your business, include it in your social media posts. It’s a great way to show your audience you follow others and that you value other content as well as your own.

Don’t Forget Email

Another area you can use videos to increase traffic to your website is through email marketing. We’ve discussed that in this space also. You don’t want to include the actual video in your email. The size of the video file is most likely going to be larger than most email servers will allow you to send. However, here’s a way you can include it in your email.

Take a screen shot of your video paused on frame that shows a key point. Include the image in your email. Make the image link to the video on your website (or YouTube channel). If that’s not an option for you, include the link to the page on your website (or social media site) with the video. Include a note in the email that the viewer can find more information by following the link.

If you haven’t gotten started in using video, be sure to check out our series of beginner tips for creating a video.

How to Use Facebook to Launch a New Product or Service

If you are launching a new product or service, you want to create some excitement with your customer base about what’s new.  Facebook is a great way not only let everyone know what’s new, but to generate excitement.

However, to be successful, you need to plan ahead and make good use of some of Facebook’s tools for business.  It’s not difficult, it just takes some planning.  Here are four steps to help you get started.

1: Pre-launch – PlanningFacebook Image tool

To be successful, you need to plan your strategy a couple of months prior to launch. Two or three months

should be sufficient.  This planning should include all of the materials you want to share on Facebook.  This includes the design of any ads you may want to purchase in addition to the images you will use in your posts.

Be sure to consider the sizes of your images.  You’ll need different sizes for ads as well as your posts.  Remember that Facebook only allows 20% of an ad to contain text.  Facebook has a handy tool to verify you do not violate this rule.  Visit the Facebook Grid Tool and upload your image.  The tool will place a 5-by-5 grid over the image.  Click the squares that contain text to see how much text you are using and if it is acceptable.  Watch this Facebook video for information about text in ads.  Also, check out our blog on optimum image sizes for different social media sites.

If you don’t have an ad agency, or know an artist who can design a print ad for you, consider using Fiverr.com.  This website offers services and products that range from graphics and design to online marketing. The freelancing marketing services include ad creation, infographic design, video animation, and much more. The price of services begins at $5.  The transparency of buyers’ reviews will help you to
choose the right seller.

2: Pre-Launch – Create Excitement

As a part of your pre-launch, consider if giveaways are appropriate for your new product or service.  Will there be a special sale or discount period when you launch?  If so, how will customers access the discount?  Is a contest appropriate for the new launch?  If appropriate, one lucky customer can win the free product or service free.  Perhaps allowing someone to be the first to use it is appropriate.

It’s also best to plan and write out the posts you will make on Facebook and other social media.  Writing these ahead of the launch will help insure you cover the important points you want your customers to know.  Each should reveal a little more about the new product or service.  Begin with teaser posts about two or three weeks before the launch.  A series of pre-launch teaser posts might be:
“Something big is coming to (Business Name) in July.”

“Watch this space for a big announcement on July 13.”

“Don’t miss out.  See what’s happening in July at (Business name).”

As the launch date approaches, build excitement by revealing a little more about the new product or service.  This would be the time to start mentioning customer benefits in your teasers.

product excitementA week before the launch, your post might be:  “Everything you know about Customer Service is about to change!  (Business Name) is taking it to a new level starting July 13.”

“The only way to experience (service) is to be here July 13 – see for yourself.”

If you are introducing a new product, perhaps a discount may be in order for the first few weeks.  One of your posts or an ad could be a coupon for customers to print.  Alternatively, you can post on Facebook a ‘secret phrase’ that customers can mention to get the discount price.

Don’t forget to use video!  Make a video of you or someone in your shop talking about how excited everyone at work is about the new product or service.  Post a few days before the launch.  If you are remodeling or expanding, post pictures of the construction work.  If you are adding new equipment, share pictures of the installation process.

Your launch plan should have the posts written out along with the date and time when each will appear.  Stagger the times from morning to early evening for maximum exposure.

3 – Launch – Keep Excitement Going

The launch phase will probably vary in length depending on the product or service.  As far as promotion is concerned, it will never truly be over.  However, you should have an end date for the largest promotional push.  At this point, you want to figure out what you can do to keep the excitement going.

This is the time to launch a Facebook Contest. After launching a new service, perhaps now is the time to have a naming contest.  If appropriate, let customers have a chance at naming the new service.  The winner gets a year of the service at no cost or a substantially price reduction. Consider what is most appropriate for the new product or service; then, maintain excitement by teasing the contest.

You may find it appropriate to shoot a video of the first day with the new product or service.  Include customer testimonials and reactions.  Other customers talking about your business and your services is a great way to introduce new customers to what you do.

If you decide to spend money on a Facebook ad campaign, focus most of your ad budget on the pre-launch phase.  If you have something to offer of value or a coupon, split your resources more evenly between the pre-launch and launch phases.  You may want to consider having a different budget for the coupon or special offer phase of the campaign.

4 – Post-Launch Thank You

After the launch period, you will want to thank your audience and customers.  Show your customers how much you appreciate them by thanking them for their support during the campaign.  Even if they did not make a purchase, let them know you appreciate their business over the years.

Also, use the post-launch thank you to tell your audience what is coming next.  More surprises?  Another contest?  Give your audience something to look forward to.

Most important, learn from your experience so you can improve the next one.  What worked?  What didn’t work?  What gave you the biggest bang?

Facebook can be a great place to let the world know about your new product or service.  However, don’t forget to promote your special product launch or new service on your website as well as your other social media, not just Facebook.