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Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: What exactly happened?

If you’ve been keeping up with the national news for the last two weeks, you’ve heard the reports of political campaigns acquiring private data on millions of Facebook users.  It has now sparked new questions about how the social media giant protects user information.

First of all, as a business advertising on Facebook, we are all thankful for the data which identifies personalities and buying trends of users.  This doesn’t mean people’s personal information like credit cards, social security numbers and other secure information was ever shared via Facebook.

What does it mean?

When you “like” a certain post, take a quiz or share a family, friend or business page’s post, Facebook keeps track of this content.  Why? Well, when they know what you like, they know what to put in your newsfeed. 

This all plays a big part in Facebook’s algorithms, which have changed drastically in the last two years.  The algorithms now only allow content that you are interested in to be in your newsfeed.  To me, this isn’t a bad thing at all.  It is a highly intelligent way of keeping users happy and engaged.  For businesses, it also makes it more difficult to advertise because you need to pay attention to what users want to see on a daily basis and tailor your content to that audience.  Otherwise, your content will go unseen.  This is what I do on a daily basis for dozens of business accounts, study trends in order to make sure the business pages are reaching the most customers. 

Now, back to Cambridge Analytica. What’s the big deal? The firm offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.  This behavior was then, allegedly, used to target voters for the election.  This app has since been removed from Facebook but there are reports that the data still exists, so this is why Facebook is being scrutinized.

What kind of information was collected and how was it acquired?

The data included details on users’ identities, friend networks and “likes”.  The idea was to map personality traits based on what people had liked on Facebook, and then use that information to target audiences with digital ads.

Researchers in 2014 asked users to take a personality survey and download an app, which scraped some private information from their profiles and those of their friends, activity that Facebook permitted at the time and has since banned. 

The technique had been developed at Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Center.  Facebook says no passwords or “sensitive pieces of information” had been taken. 

Facebook has always prohibited this kind of data to be sold or transferred “to any ad network, data broker or other advertising service” so the question everyone has been asking is, was Facebook hacked? No one really knows for sure.

What is Facebook doing to fix the situation?

Really, there isn’t much they can do about it at this point. Once the data is out, there isn’t really a way to recall it. They can conduct all the forensic audits they want, but the information will remain out there in some form, and will likely remain useable and indicative. For damage control, Facebook needs to show users that it is improving, learned its lessons and their systems are actually now better for it.

We’ll see in the next year whether or not users pull away from the social giant or whether it will blow over and everyone will go back to using Facebook as usual.  As already stated, no sensitive information was really obtained but it is simply a matter of users trusting Facebook to keep up with their social habits without exploiting it for political reasons.

What do you think? Does it bother you that Facebook tracks your likes and, in turn, creates a personality profile of your daily habits in order for businesses to advertise to you? We want to know! Let us know on Facebook!

RELATED:

12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy

Author: Stephanie May - smay@askbisdesigns.com 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 


5 Tips for Improving Your Emails

When it comes down to it, email marketing is all about getting the basics right.

Yes, you should be segmenting your lists and yes, paying attention to those open rates and conversion rates are important but you also want to invest time in strategies like positioning, voice and value of your emails.  These 5 tips may seem basic but you’ll find that many of your favorite emails coming through your inbox, the ones you open every day, employ the tips in a single email.  For best results, apply liberally.

Create an exclusive club.

Making your email subscribers feel special is a great way to generate excitement for the content or offers you send them.  It’s also a powerful community-building tool. 

Exclusivity can be subtle, like the Apple example below.  Whenever Apple launches a new product, customers camp outside their stores to get their hands on the latest device.  By offering a pre-order, Apple can cash in on that excitement without putting additional stress on their retail stores.  With free shipping as an added incentive, these emails will no doubt drive huge sales before the next iPhone is even released.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ask for Feedback.  

As long as you’re not too pushy, it’s okay to ask for feedback. Find a way to ask without making it sound like the feedback is for the company’s gain but rather to help you, as a business owner, find ways to make their service better.  Here is an example:

Get personal.

Email is a great way to humanize your brand.  The inbox is an intimate place, mostly used for personal conversation.  Your presence there is a privilege, so do your best to write like a human.  It’s okay to talk about challenges, obstacles and even failures.  Readers can relate since they are likely facing similar situations, whether in business or in their personal lives.  Even quotes from your company’s CEO can go a long way, like the example below.

Tell readers what to do next.

One big mistake people make with conversion is failure to make the next step completely clear.  How can someone convert if they aren’t sure what to do next?

Conversion rate experts stress this over and over again: “Be clear and direct with your users, telling them exactly what you’d like them to do.”

The idea is simple: just add the webinar to your calendar.  Not only does this reinforce the behavior pattern of clicking the emails, but it also increases the chances that the registrants actually attend the webinar.  Once it’s on the calendar, they will get alerts from their phone and/or computer…it’s like free marketing!

Keep readers on their toes. 

This tip is unconventional, but it’s proven to work.

On one hand, you want your readers to know what to expect in your emails.  In our case, here at BIS Designs, that means a new blog post every Wednesday.  Our readers know there will be a new blog post each week but they don’t know what topic will be covered until they receive an email once the new blog has been posted on our website. 

Conclusion

There are plenty of tips out there about how to increase your open rates but you also want to concentrate on becoming and remaining valuable to your clients and customers. If you have any additional tips to share with us, feel free to share in the comments!

RELATED:

5 Ways to Get Creative with Email Subject Lines

Author: Stephanie May

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


4 Basic Tips of Blogging Search Engine Optimization

Here’s a quick illustration of how SEO works…

Google has developed automatic algorithms that rank your website.  They send out what are called “spiders” to “crawl” your site and check it for over 100 indicators that determine whether the website is valuable or useless.  These indicators include things like backlinks, domain age, traffic, fresh content, etc.

SEO can be considered the art of making sure those crawling spiders are happy with what they find.  It is a very complex field that is always changing but in all that chaos there are a few constants that have remained the same since the beginning. 

1. You need your own domain and hosting.

One thing that beginners need to know is that you need your own domain and hosting.  Free blog set ups don’t do any favors for your SEO efforts.  Why?

People tend to speculate that if you were serious about your website you would get your own name and host it yourself.  Google only wants to point to websites that are considered serious and trustworthy and so this is a basic signal.

Starting your own website, hosting and a business blog can seem intimidating but that’s why we’re here.  We offer multiple packages to meet your needs, which saves you a lot of time.

2. Problem solving with original content.

Keep in mind that Google’s entire purpose is to provide their customers with relevant and useful search results.  Everything they do is built around this goal.

To be realistic, the most important thing you can do for your SEO is create the most useful content that solves people’s problems. If you are solving problems that people are searching for then it is likely that you are going to get shared on social media and ranked higher in Google.

And “original content” means so much more than just blog posts these days.  You can expand into:

  • Videos 
  • Make tutorials or video posts.  This builds links and traffic from YouTube and does well on mobile devices.
  • Photography
  • Original images and photos can boost your rankings as well as add value to your blog posts. Adding your own logos and sharing to social media is an extra layer of marketing, too.
  • Podcasts
  • iTunes has grown fast as people get better smart phones and spend more time plugged in.  Adding a podcast to your blog will ensure a unique and original addition for SEO. You want to build a relationship with your customers and readers by helping them out.  This will mean more sharing and faster results in your search engine rankings.

3.  Make sure your theme is SEO optimized.

Think of SEO as having two components: the off-site stuff like social media and backlinks and the on-site stuff like optimizing your theme.

Optimizing your theme is important because it helps give Google indicators that you are a trustworthy site.  It also helps Google find your content.  Some of the things to keep in mind when optimizing are:

  • Mobile Response
  • Cleanly coded
  • Fast loading
  • Secure domain
  • Original theme (rather than a pre-made template)

4. Build your social media profiles constantly.

You want to have a big focus on social media for SEO purposes as well as traffic building purposes.

Why?

Because Google is now looking to social media as a signal of an article’s authority and relevance.  If people are sharing on Facebook or tweeting about it, you must have written something pretty good.  The best way for this to happen is to build a strong following, keep them engaged and they’ll see your blog posts as they are shared. 

Commenting and sharing other business blogs is always a great way to build a community and possible cross-promoting opportunities for the future as well.

Are you now ready to get a blog started and make sure your SEO is on the right track? Schedule a meeting and we’ll handle every detail from writing, optimizing your website and sharing to your social media!

 

Author: Stephanie May 

RELATED:

5 Benefits of Business Blogging

12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,   Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 

 


Why Your Business Needs A Paid Facebook Ad Budget

Whether you’ve noticed or not, organic traffic on Facebook has dropped – and it’s likely impacting your company in a big way.

There are a few reasons that you need a Facebook advertising strategy and budget.  Let’s start with the basics – because Facebook’s algorithm does not make it easy for business pages to succeed on Facebook. 

What does the term “Facebook algorithm” actually mean? And how does it work?

Facebook’s algorithm controls who sees the content that you share.  It’s not as simple as you posting a status update then Facebook pushing it out to all of your followers.  That’s a thing of the past.  Not everyone who follows your page will see your posts.  Facebook is way more intelligent now.  And, there’s a reason for that, but we’ll get into that later.

Adam Mosseri (VP, News Feed at Facebook) puts Facebook’s algorithm in layman’s terms for us.  He says he thinks about it like he would when ordering his wife something to eat at a restaurant. 

The Facebook algorithm process goes like this:  

  1. Facebook considers all recent posts (this is like checking the menu to see what options you have).
  2. Facebook looks for signals that you might like a particular post (like knowing your wife likes salmon).
  3. Facebooks makes predictions on what you like and shows those posts first (like ordering the salmon).

This process happens on millions of devices countless times each day.  And, it’s also the reason why your Facebook business page’s posts aren’t getting as many views as it used to.

Why isn’t my Facebook business page performing well?

This makes a lot of sense when you think about it from a business perspective. The reality is that Facebook is a business.  And how does a business like Facebook make money? You guessed it – paid advertising. 

So why isn’t your Facebook business page making you money? Because the only way for company pages to succeed on Facebook is through Facebook paid advertising.  Facebook’s only real concern is to find ways for more business pages to spend more money.  You can’t blame them.  Any CEO would do the same thing.

The truth is that social media doesn’t work the way it did in the past.

Facebook’s current algorithm is very different than it used to be in 2000.  Back then, you could post anything on Facebook, and it was guaranteed to be shown to your audience. 

This is because posts were served in reverse chronological order.  In 2009, Facebook changed the algorithm to be based on popularity. 

As you might’ve guessed, the Facebook algorithm is changing more frequently than ever.  Simply posting on your page every day without a Facebook advertising strategy or budget is a waste of time.

Here’s what you should be using Facebook for –

Facebook Paid Advertising

The new reality is that businesses on Facebook are unlikely to succeed without putting a budget toward Facebook paid advertising.  In turn, this requires a Facebook advertising strategy similar to how you would strategize for billboard, radio or TV ads. 

When creating a Facebook ad campaign, there are a few key things that you need to consider – like your goals, target audience and the content of your ad.  Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Facebook ad campaigns can get incredibly detailed and complicated, and the platform itself isn’t exactly user-friendly.  We’d love to dive into the specific best practices for executing a Facebook advertising strategy, but that’s a whole other blog

Its Database

What you’re really doing when you create a Facebook ad campaign, is using Facebook for its extremely extensive database.  In other words, you’re using Facebook paid advertising to buy an audience. 

Think about all of the millions of people that use Facebook.  In fact, Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users according to the company’s website.  That’s a lot of people – a lot of people that may be interested in your product or service. 

Think about Facebook’s database as an untapped market.  You may not have their email or mailing address but you have their Facebook profile. 

When you use Facebook paid advertising, you are purchasing access to advertise to millions of people that you otherwise would have had no access to.  Even better, you can segment your audience to the specifics of your ideal customer by choosing preferred age, gender, interests, etc. to give you an incredibly high customer value. 

Organic Posting 2-5 Times a Week

Just because you realize that Facebook paid advertising is more lucrative than simple sharing updates on your company’s page (otherwise known as organic posting), doesn’t mean that you can give up organic posting altogether. 

There’s a huge difference between social marketing and social selling.  Social selling is where you can really see the return on your investment, and it includes your Facebook paid advertising strategy that we talked about in this blog post.  However, social marketing is also essential.

Other than running Facebook ad campaigns, it’s still very critical to be active on your company page.

Think about this scenario – a highly qualified lead that saw your Facebook ad in their newsfeed now visits your company’s Facebook business page to learn more about you.  But, you haven’t posted an update in months because you focused all of your efforts on your Facebook advertising strategy.  That scenario isn’t exactly ideal because the customer doesn’t get any added value, in turn stopping their customer journey. 

This is why it’s extremely important to pay attention to your Facebook advertising strategy as well as organic posting.  It may seem like a lot to balance, which is why marketing companies like us (BIS Designs) are here to ease you into the process. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that the average person will spend over five years of their life on social media. WOW! That’s a lot of time spent on Facebook!

 

Author: Stephanie May 

 

RELATED: 

5 Benefits of Business Blogging 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,   Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 

 

 

 

 


4 Marketing Tips To Get More Leads

The most common question from marketing clients is “How do I get more leads for my business?” 

There are plenty of practical methods for generating quality leads.  Blogging. Sharing and caring on social Media.  Strategic landing pages. Event marketing. Email.  Most marketers are using all of these channels and more. So why aren’t the majority of brands drowning in qualified leads?

Research shows that 65% of marketers are still struggling to figure out which content is effective.  60 percent are unable to produce engaging content.  Only 23 percent of B2B marketers have moved to a customer-centric organizational structure.  A lot of marketers are still missing the mark, using content to appeal to customers, rather than to provide value to customers

If you want to get more quality leads, you need to do better quality marketing.  The trick to doing that is to first step back, in order to move forward.  Go back and refine your buyer personas.  How can you better meet their preferences and expectations? Look at where you can improve your blog, email and social media content to better serve your audience. 

No more bull running in a china shop approach and generating mediocre content and tossing it at your audience.  No more throwing dollars at Facebook ads and waiting for the leads to roll in.  Here are the hacks that will help you refine and improve your marketing and truly excel at lead generation. 

UP YOUR CONTENT GAME

You should always be on the quest to enhance the type of content you are using.  Content marketing goes far beyond blog posts.  Consider investing more so you can deliver a premium level of content. 

  • Infographics
  • Event Marketing
  • Webinars
  • White papers
  • Interactive Tools

Your content should be engaging and “pretty”.  All photos should be of great quality, captions should be short but interesting.  Ever notice how television commercials use a short amount of time to catch your attention? The attention span of the average human is not very long, so you need to catch their attention with your graphics, photos and captions on social media within a glance.  Blogs and email campaigns need to have clear and concise titles or subject lines. 

SIMPLIFY YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN

Dynamic isn’t always a good thing when it comes to trying to get across a message.  With website design, the more complex, the bigger disaster you may have on your hands.

Keep your website design clear and to the point.  That doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.  It does mean avoid excess text, confusing visuals and too many concepts.  What you do what is a clear message and navigation bar.  Lots of white space.  Use website real estate for the essentials for getting leads, like forms and contact info. 

You don’t want your design to scream when a prospect lands on your site. 

BETTER PERSONALIZE YOUR EMAILS

How are your email open-rates? Small businesses get around a 2 to 3 percent open-rate percentage, and larger companies get closer to 10 percent or even more.  Overall, the average hovers around 4 percent. 

The goal should be to improve your email rates to help get more leads.  How to do it?  A simple trick is to use more personalized messaging.  With the style and tone expectations of your target audience in mind, see if your emails make more of an impact with a more conversational tone.  Try adding an image in the closing signature – a staff member whose name is on the emails.  Use names and first person tone of voice in the subject line, greetings, and closings.  Segment your emails with your marketing software to ensure the right people are getting the right messaging depending on where they are in the sales funnel.

Research has shown that personalization leads to six times higher email transaction rates.  Worth a shot!

KEEP REFINING

You don’t necessarily need to revolutionize your marketing strategy to get more leads. You may see the results you’re after simply by making a few changes or trying new techniques.  Try these hacks.  Measure their impact.  Then keep making them better.  You’ll get more leads as long as you continually prime your marketing for the people you’re trying to reach.  For more tips and to hire a team of marketing professionals to handle this part of your business for you – contact our office.

RELATED: 

5 Benefits of Business Blogging 

12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy 

 

Author: Stephanie May 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,   Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 


5 Benefits of Business Blogging

These days, having a company website is no longer enough to stand out among the thousands of competitors you compete with in the digital space.  Blogging isn’t just a place to host your company press releases, it’s about providing valuable content to your future customers.

What is business blogging? Blogging is a marketing tactic that uses articles to get your business more online visibility.  A business blog is a marketing channel (just like social media, email campaigns, etc.) that helps support business growth.

No matter what kind of business you have, whether you’re a local mom and pop shop, or giant corporation, there are some serious benefits are seemingly endless.

Here are 5 benefits of business blogging:

1. Creates Brand Authority

Consistently updating an active blog for your business allows you to personify your business by giving it a voice.  Your blog is a space to discuss industry related topics, market trends and upcoming products.  Focusing on these topics actively builds brand-trust.  Trust generates leads.  Leads grow sales.  Can you see where this is all going?

When you utilize your blog effectively, you are creating a two-way conversion between you and your customers, prospects and other industry professionals which can be very helpful for gathering insights for future business development.

Having an active blog helps you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to industry news and competitors.  By staying ahead of the curve, you are positioning your company as a leader as opposed to a follower.  Your blog also serves the purpose of having a place to share your brand story, although it should be noted that it’s not advised that you blog only about yourself as a company. 

2. Business Blogging Fuels Your SEO

There are some pretty obvious SEO benefits blogs can offer, such as viewers spending longer amounts of time on your website, increasing page views and lowering bounce rates.  However, it’s also important to mention that search engines love valuable content and reward it with higher search result placements. 

As more people are putting out content to capture the attention of search engines, the algorithms are getting smarter.  Your business blogging content should focus on having frequent high-quality content as opposed to having constant poor-quality content.  Opt for longer blog posts because Google actually favors in-depth blog articles but a regularly updated blog, no matter the length of the articles, ranks higher in search engines than websites with no blog at all. 

3. Supports Your Social Media Advertising Efforts

Using blog articles as part of your content strategy on both Facebook and LinkedIn platforms has been proven to be very effective.  Depending on the nature of the industry, boosted blog posts typically generate more engagements as opposed to generic click campaigns.  This increased engagement impacts your overall organic reach for the post, which essentially means you are getting more viewers and spending less money as you’re running your ad campaigns.

Aside from using blog content for your ads, leveraging your blog posts throughout your social media content also increases the chances of gaining extra exposure.  When you can write a blog article that is so interesting that others will want to share it, you are ultimately gaining free exposure. 

4. Generates a Great ROI

Business blogs are cost-effective marketing investments.  Many business owners choose to outsource their blogging efforts entirely because it can be a time-consuming task when you are already wearing multiple hats for your business.  According to Hubspot research, B2B marketers who use blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

5. Blogs Serve as a Lead Generation Tool

Blogging is an integral part of your digital sales funnel.  In addition to driving traffic to your website, business blogging offers a great opportunity for capturing leads.  By using non-intrusive lead capturing tools such as lead capture forms and call-to-action buttons, you can gather valuable data on the quality of the leads your blog posts are generating. 

How many times have you read a blog post and downloaded a free e-book because you were interested in gaining more insightful information about the topic you were reading? If you recall a moment where you have personally done this, congratulations! You were successfully moved from the inbound marketing stage of attraction to the stage of conversion. 

Each blog post you create is an additional page that can be indexed by Google, which can be used with a combination of lead generating call-to-action buttons such as free webinars, fact sheets and e-books.  Asking for emails isn’t an easy task but when you offer valuable data in exchange for emails, you can leverage it for better prospecting. 

The Takeaway

Although it can be difficult to find the time to keep up a business blog, you don’t want to neglect the benefits blogging has to offer.  By utilizing a local outsourced marketing company, like BIS Designs, your blogs can serve as a central piece for all your other marketing efforts which can include social media, SEO, email marketing and much more.

When business blogging is done properly, it creates an opportunity that will have lifelong benefits to boosting your business marketing efforts.  

RELATED: 

12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy

 

Author: Stephanie May 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,   Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


5 Ways To Get Creative With Email Subject Lines

 

Email is still king in digital marketing, but with all the marketing emails, personal, and work messages that people get in their inbox, it’s hard for any brand to stand out.  There’s nothing more frustrating than creating a great email campaign only to get low open rates.

Did you know that a third of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone and 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line?

That’s why the critical first step to improving email marketing engagement is creating great email subject lines that compel your subscribers to find out more.

Here are several best practices to help you write enticing email subject lines to boost your open rates and get your emails read:

  1. 1. KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET

More than half of emails are opened on a mobile device, so it’s important to consider your target audience and what device they commonly use to open their emails.

Only include copy that your need to optimize subject lines for every device.  For mobile devices, a 20 to 30 character count is ideal.  But, if your target market mostly uses a desktop, you need to make sure not to exceed 50 characters.

  1. 2. ANALYZE PAST EMAIL SUBJECT LINE PERFORMANCE

It’s always a good idea to back your strategy with data analytics.  Measure your email open rates, and take a look at the subject lines that performed well in the past.  Chances are, your email subscribers liked the subject line, and it enticed them to open your email.

However, you should also note that email open rates are also affected by the relevance of the deal you’re offering and the day/time you sent the email.  So, keep in mind that although subject lines are a primary factor, they’re not the only thing you should be paying attention to.

  1. 3. PERSONALIZE AND LOCALIZE

Statistics show that a personalized subject line is 22% more likely to be opened, so make your subscribers feel special by tailoring your message uniquely.  You can tailor your subject lines according to your recipient’s specific location, use “you” and “your” so that your recipient feels like you’re talking to them directly.  This will help you build rapport with your subscriber and make them feel more familiar with your name and your brand.

“You’re going to love these restaurants in Boston.”

“An exclusive discount, just for you!”

  1. 4. CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY

Communicating urgency in an email subject line can entice recipients to open your email.  However, don’t use it too often, as recipients may think that your next time-limited offer won’t be so limited after all. 

Choose specific occasions such as a business anniversary, Black Friday, or Christmas to schedule your giveaways and exclusive deals.  Tapping into a recipient’s fear of loss also works well to compel immediate action.

“30% Off for the First 100 Customers”

“Offer Ends in 3 Days”

  1. 5. BE FUNNY AND WITTY

People get a lot of emails in their inbox, and it’s hard for brands to stand out.  But, how often does an email subject line make you smile?

Humor is one of the best ways to showcase your brand’s personality, and with a strong brand personality, relationship and trust building become a whole lot easier.

Don’t be afraid to insert wit and humor in your email subject line.  It’s a great way for you to catch the attention of your recipient and get them to open your email.

“Deals that Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)” – Groupon

Subject Lines Matter

Your email subject line is the second thing your subscriber reads (after seeing who it’s from) when they receive your email.  So, make sure that you tell your recipient what they can expect in your email, or use a little personality to reel them in.

Entice them to open the email by conveying a sense of importance and relevance, and center it around the individual you’re sending the email to. 

At the end of the day, if your emails aren’t getting opened, then your message isn’t being read.  You have great content – you just need it to be seen!

For more information on email marketing campaigns and how we can help, contact our office.

RELATED:

12 Reason Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy

 

Author: Stephanie May 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,   Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 


12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy

Research by the Content Marketing Institute has reported that B2B marketers who have a documented strategy and an individual to oversee the strategy, are the most effective group of content marketers out there. Whether you are just now starting your digital marketing process or you have made sure your brand has a recognizable presence on the web, you’re missing out if you aren’t using a content marketing strategy.

There is a lot more to it than running a few social media accounts and publishing a blog for your brand. Even with great, well-driven content, if you don’t have the SEO skills to drive organic traffic to your website, the landing pages to capture leads and the email marketing, white papers, dynamic offering of webinars, infographics, event marketing and more to convince your customers that your brand is an industry leader and has long-term value to offer, then your content lacks dimension.

You need a system for gathering and analyzing your customer metrics, and using this data to constantly update your strategy. Without this system, you’re failing to offer what customers expect today from marketers. Your content may slip through the cracks, going unnoticed as your competitors are appealing to your market with a direct approach at content that touches every point. Stringing everything together to create something that matters is the ultimate goal.

Richard Pattinson, CEO of Brafton, says “The intention behind content can be good, but the scaffolding is missing, weak or flawed.” Pattinson sees this as a major flaw for businesses.

With a documented strategy, there is a place and purpose for each piece of content. Everything flows into the next. A case study, vlog or email subject line sets up other aspects of your strategy and holds the entire plan together. A good flow will allow your entire strategy to be flexible enough to evolve along the way as your make an effort to continually work towards creating that simple, clear and yet remarkably complex brand environment that is the most effective way to attract your market and build long-term customer relationships at the same time.

A good content marketing strategy is:

  • - Well-defined KPIs and clear goals.
  • - Three-dimensional buyer personas that help you craft content for your market
  • - A content management system for tracking your customers’ experiences, automating some of your content publication, and for gathering data.
  • - A balance between creativity and pragmatism that yields an ongoing river of fresh content, with each part connected seamlessly, from the font styles on your website to format used in your webinars.
  • - An ongoing learning process, with the goal of utilizing multiple content tactics and identifying the ones that work the best for your target audience.

The better your strategy, the more potential you give each piece of content created.

WHY YOU NEED A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

1. A better content marketing ROI – as you refine which tactics are the most appealing to high-quality leads and which are the most motivating, you’ll be able to invest in the content that works and either reduce or eliminate what isn’t working.

2. You’ll actually know what your content ROI is – only with a documented strategy are you going to have the metrics to give you an idea of how effective your content marketing is.

3. Repurposed content – with a dynamic strategy, you can plan ahead how you repurpose your in-person events into eBooks and podcasts, your video interviews into blog posts, and your white papers into infographics.

4. Better customer segmentation – with a content management system, you’ll be able to personalize your content for different segments, the key to boosting your conversion and retention rates.

5. More accurate buyer personas – you’ll also be able to create smarter campaigns with better buyer personas as you use your gathered customer data to continually evolve your ideal buyer personas.

6. Less churn – when you have a better idea of what your customers want because you’re using a strategy, you’ll be able to reduce your churn rates and boost your long-term revenue numbers.

7. Ability to leverage more marketing tactics – with a short and long-term plan, you’ll be able to see ten steps ahead, planning for that mega branding conference in five years and pulling off your brilliant influencer marketing campaign six months from now.

8. Optimized social media channels – when your social media posts are integrated with the rest of your content marketing strategy, your customers grow used to the value that comes out of following and engaging with your social platforms and are more likely to stay engaged. Rather than random posts, they’ll know there will be a consistent flow of value coming out of your Twitter feed and Facebook pages – industry news or tips, special deals, links to informative blog posts, early bird event registration they don’t want to miss.

9. Boosted brand reputation – with your comprehensive brand presence both online and off, you’ll do wonders for your brand reputation as you’ll have a larger social following, contact list, and more activity on your website such as blog comments, online reviews, and forum posts (depending on what channels are relevant for your business).

10. Improve lead generation – when you flow your social media posts and email marketing into your blog posts and to your landing pages and CTAs, you’ll attract more visitors to your website and invite more qualified leads down your sales funnel.

11.  Higher customer acquisition rates – as you get to know your market better, you’ll be able to turn more leads into customers.

12. You’ll become a better marketer. The more love you put into your strategy, the more you’ll learn about just how much content marketing is capable of. 

Getting the results you want from your content marketing all boils down to strategy. Even if your strategy is limited to a blog, a modest website and social media – make each piece work together and that strategy will do more than a disconnected collection of components ever could.

BIS Designs offer these services and more. As a business owner, having a team to handle the content marketing for you can be a better option than spending the time to do it yourself. We’re happy to discuss ideas with you. Give us a call!

 

Author: Stephanie May 

 

RELATED: 

Create a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 5 Simple Steps 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of    what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,   Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


How Is Voice Search Affecting SEO?

Have you talked to Siri, Alexa or Cortana lately? You probably have, and you wouldn’t be alone.  According to Google, more than half of teens and 41% of adults are using voice search daily.  For users, voice search is basically the best thing since sliced bread and now marketers are racing to optimize their content for it.

Why is voice search hailed as the next big opportunity? Let’s break down what voice search is, how it’s impacting search, and some quick tips on how to optimize for these new types of queries.

What is Voice Search?

People tend to use voice search when they are multi-tasking, like asking for directions, dictating texts, and getting quick information.  And because voice search is a drastic new medium to perform searches, the types of queries and ways in which people are searching are changing immensely.

What’s Its Impact?

Voice search is making long tail, colloquial keywords more relevant.  People are now having conversations with their devices, whether it’s a smartphone or voice assistant, so preparing for longer, more descriptive terms is imperative.  Also, searchers are using more interrogative words within their searches.  Imagine you’re driving around town, jamming to your favorite song and realize that your gas light just turned on – chances are you might quickly ask Siri, “Where’s the closest gas station?”, and voila! In a couple of minutes your tank is full, you’re back on the road downing a Dr. Pepper and pretending to be Britney Spears.

How Do I Optimize For It?

An easy way to begin optimizing your site’s pages is making sure you’re tracking voice terms, which include long tail keywords and searches with question terms attached – like who, what, where, when and so on. Once you have a benchmark, you’ll be able to track your improvements.

Next, create or update an existing FAZ page predicting relevant voice searches.  This page can include questions like, “How much is shipping?” or “How does it work?” so when people are searching questions that might relate to your business, you have a page ready for them to land on.

And lastly, make sure your site passes the mobile-friendliness test.  People using voice search want quick answers to their pressing questions, so if your landing page doesn’t load fast enough, your user might bounce right off your site and get answers from elsewhere. 

 

Author: Stephanie May 

 

RELATED: 

Marketing Trends for 2018 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of    what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,   Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing

The year is flying by quickly and before we know it, 2018 will be here.  Top companies have a habit of starting to plan for the next year by Q2 of the year, so many businesses are already looking at trends coming up in the new year.  If you have initiated planning your marketing strategy and budget for 2018, be prepared to face questions regarding tactics you are opting to use that would go best with most of your customers.  And most importantly, which tactics can result in the most efficient conversion. 

To plan a top-notch marketing strategy for your business in 2018, go through the seven trends explained here and incorporate them in your planning process.  From personalized elements and mastering micro-moments to moving visual and analyzing the authentic data, we will go through all the best strategies for acquiring leads, conversions and engagement.

Master Micro-Moments

Mobile gadgets have proved to be a major influence in customer interaction and engagement with brands across the globe. But the surprising thing for most people is the concept of “micro-moments”, which has powered the shift to mobile phones. From long-term goals such as planning to purchase a home, or something as small as acquiring a quick grocery from the nearest store or even locating the ingredients of a dish from your phone, etc., countless of these micro-moments stimulate the impulse to reach out for our mobile phone.

As per Think with Google, micro-moments are highly critical and evaluative touchpoints where customers expect brands to cater their needs with reliable information, regardless of the time and location.

Whenever a customer feels the need to inquire about something, an astounding 96% of users reach for their smartphones to conduct the required research at that very instant. Only successful brands have the tendency to correctly anticipate and address the exact micro-moment needs by providing the right information at the right time to customer in need.

A useful, quick and one-touch access to the needed information becomes the basis of acquiring customer trust and building long-lasting relationships.

Visualization Is More Important than Ever

For all the exciting and informative things found online, whether it is a couple of kittens playing, a baby laughing or a top commercial featuring a popular model, there is always an element of video.  With a video, people tend to accept and attach on a much deeper level due to the usage of visually-rich and interactive elements depicting a proper message or story. And as a consequence, audience is tempted to take considerable action in terms of likes, sharing, etc.

With time, brands have been able to capitalize on the introduction of highly-engaging video features on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

For this trend, we are going to focus on video aspect only since businesses are seizing the opportunity to differentiate their brand in the competitive industry.

Mobile users are tending to spend more time than ever with their smartphones, with the excitement to watch videos online being proportionate as well. It is clear from the following stats that online video is growing rapidly in popularity.

YouTube registers more 18 and above years-old audience during peak TV hours than any cable TV network.
Advertisers on prime time broadcasting TV could gain 56% more audience of 18 to 49 years-old through advertising on YouTube.
Plainly from statistics, it does not come as a surprise that Facebook recently revealed the count of 1.65 billion active users (data from April 2016) watching about 8 billion videos each day.

Consumers are more tempted from videos because of the deeper attachment they experience from the visual on-screen elements. Realizing the need, the trend of promoting high-quality video content is very much likely to soar high in future.

The Best Visibility with Native Ads

To grab a plain sight exposure in front of the right audience, native advertising has become one of the most sought-after marketing methods. Most users find interruptive ads frustrating and irrelevant. For instance, browsing a website and instantly an out-of-context ad pops out of nowhere is a big no-no for the user.

This is a common concern, which is best catered by native ads. It facilitates brands to market their offerings in a quite non-disruptive way that blends in easily with the environment a user is most comfortable with.

Native ads blend in such a seamless manner, that customers may not even spot them when viewing let it be advertorial, instant content, search advertising, recommended content or sponsored listings form of native advertising. Rather than approving it as a deceiving aspect, the point is to put the right information in front of the viewer when they actually need it.

As per the data provided by Polar and BI intelligence, CTR rates for premium native ads on mobile gadgets were four times higher, than the count of non-native display ads. The data also stressed that native ads calls for better engagement rates on tablets and smartphones as compared to desktop systems.


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