Archive for May, 2016

75% of marketers say social media marketing is paying off

Social media is generating better returns on investments this year than it did last year, according to Salesforce’s new “2016 State of Marketing Report.”

The report finds that 75% of retailers and other marketers say that social media delivers either a “strong” or “some” return on their investment. That’s a 46-percentage point increase from the 29% who said so a year earlier.

“Social media marketing is a core piece of a lot of retailers’ businesses,” says Vala Afshar, Salesforce’s chief digital evangelist.

That’s despite the fact that social media led directly to relatively few sales over the most recent holiday season. Only 1.8% of online retail sales over the holidays stemmed from shoppers clicking directly from social networks to retail sites, according to marketing platform vendor Custora, which examined online shoppers’ visits to more than 200 online retail websites.

In part, social media has become a more effective marketing tool because marketers are increasingly developing holistic, cross-channel marketing campaigns rather than developing their social media marketing campaigns in a silo, Afshar says. The report finds that 63% of self-declared “high-performing” marketers integrate social media into their overall marketing strategy, far more than the 28% of marketers who say they are “moderate-performing” and 20% who say they are “low-performing.”

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Email Marketing Can Give Small Businesses a Boost

Small businesses that are just getting off the ground likely won’t have large marketing budgets. Advertising campaigns and billboards are probably well down the road. But email marketing can be an effective and inexpensive way for small business owners to spread the word about what they have to offer. Here’s a look at some of the benefits.

Consider the Pros and Cons

There are positive and negative elements to email marketing. It’s more cost-effective than direct mail, for example, which can be significant in saving money on postage costs. It also gives small business owners a better idea of how their message is being received, as Chad Brooks writes for Business News Daily: “… Businesses can see which emails were received, which ones went to addresses that were no longer active, which ones were opened, which ones were deleted before they were read and which ones enticed clients to click through to the website and make a purchase.”

But there is a common complaint when it comes to email marketing, and it involves the dreaded word “spam.” As Brooks explains, “… Some consumers may consider the emails to be spam and hold it against a brand’s reputation. If customers feel they are being bombarded by unwanted emails from a business, they will be less likely to become new or repeat customers.”

Explore the Different Methods

There are several ways that a business can engage in email marketing. Newsletters, for example, are a way to reach customers on a regular basis. Emails can promote an upcoming sale, as Brooks writes, or be posed as an invitation for customers to attend an event. And “lead-nurturing” emails can “keep brands at the top of mind for prospective clients,” he says. “These emails are sent out regularly until a potential customer is converted into a paying customer.”

Read more: Email Marketing Can Give Small Businesses a Boost

How To Successfully Outsource A Web Development Project in Five Simple Steps

Victoria Elizabeth is a content executive for Expert Market, a B2B marketplace for office products and services.

Whether you’re a budget conscious small business owner, or a corporate manager who’s strapped for time, you’ve probably thought about outsourcing more than once since starting your business.

More small businesses are relying on outsourcing today for a host of different activities, and marketplaces for finding designers and agencies are hardly in short supply. One of the most daunting tasks you may consider outsourcing is web design and development work, since hiring someone in house, or bringing in extra hands for the project, may prove too expensive and time-consuming.

But while outsourcing may be a quicker and less expensive option than hiring, planning is still essential and requires dedicating time and effort to manage expectations along the way.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking of having an outside agency design or redesign your site:

#1 Know What Your Website is Going to Do
#2 Cement Your Measurement Tactics
#3 Compare Yourself to the Competition
#4 Explain the Limitations of Your Project
#5 Wrap All This Information Up Into a Brief

Read more: How To Successfully Outsource A Web Development Project in Five Simple Steps

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