email-marketingSmall businesses can see incredible benefits from relying on email marketing. This traditional online promotion technique is still alive and capable of helping you meet your goals on a limited budget.

There are certain things you need to do when starting and email marketing campaign, in order to increase the chance of reaching and engaging your target audience. Here are some rules of email marketing for small businesses.

Simplify the Subscription Process
People will subscribe if the process is user-friendly. There should be signup links on your homepage, your blog and your social media profiles. If people have to spend a lot of time searching for the link, they will never subscribe.

Welcome New Subscribers
A welcome email adds a nice touch and reminds people that they are now included in your mailing list. It can have a personalized message or a special offer that is available solely for new subscribers.

Choose the Right Format
Good newsletters are easy to scan when it comes to some email marketing campaigns. People can go through all of the headlines and the points you are trying to make, choosing to pay attention to the content that they like the most. The creative use of fonts and font sizes can direct the eye towards the most important parts of the email and help the audience navigate.

Brand Identity
Use design creatively. It should be functional and it should correspond to your brand identity. If you are trying to increase your popularity and boost loyalty through email marketing, this approach will be vitally important. Your corporate colors and your logo should appear in the beginning of the newsletter.

Your Content Plan
Email marketing is dependent on the creation of a solid content plan. Many small businesses overlook the importance of sharing something unique and something that makes going through the subscription process worth the effort. You could share special offers or information about upcoming campaigns exclusively through your newsletters.

Test Your Newsletter before Sending It
There are so many mail clients and the appearance of your newsletter will vary greatly across platforms. Test through as many popular mail clients, as you can. Make sure that the design looks equally attractive in all.

Mobile Audiences are Becoming More Important
Many people are going through marketing emails on mobile devices. Is your design suitable for viewing on a small screen? Choose responsive design that look good on all kinds of media.

Facilitate Email Sharing
Enable subscribers to forward the mail and facilitate social sharing. There could be a link to a web-based version of the newsletter, as well as social media links.

Always Look at Email Marketing Statistics
Look at the statistics and modify your campaign on the basis of the response that you get. The open rate and click through (CTR) rate are two of the important metrics. Identify patterns and try to understand which parts of your strategy succeed and which ones are failing miserably.

Stop Sending Marketing Emails for the Sake of Sending Them
You should be sending newsletters solely when you have something interesting to say. It is a nice idea to stick to a schedule but you should also be sensible about the value of each newsletter. Send something interesting, newsworthy and fun to read. Don’t waste the time of your subscribers and you will maximize the results of the campaign.

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Pay-per-click-advertisingYour pay per click campaign will fail if you don’t have an effective, well-written ad. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend researching keywords or how little competition you have in your niche. Your PPC ads must speak to searchers or they are going to scroll down the page rather than clicking your link.

You can find a lot of information about writing the perfect PPC ads online and in some books, but you probably don’t have the time to search out those resources and give them the attention they deserve. Bypass the work and pay attention to these five simple tips guaranteed to make your ad more effective.

1. Don’t use overly complicated words.

Stick with simple terms that most people will understand without too much thought. You want them to process what you have to say quickly and click without pondering the message in detail. Your content can fill them in on all the details and give them the technical terms if they are important, but you want your ad to be easily understood regardless of the education level or intelligence of the reader. You want to reach everyone within your market.

2. Use words that will appeal to the emotional side of your readers.

Put your personal touch on your ads so that your readers feel you are speaking right to them. Let them know that you understand their problem or know what information they need. Feeling words will help them make that decision to click your link. If your words just seem like words on a screen directed at nobody in particular, searchers will likely scroll past for an ad they relate to more.

3. Use your keywords in the proper context and focus on their deeper meaning. What is the message behind your keywords? Why are they important?

4. Tell searchers what you want them to do.

Let searchers know what your site has to offer, and then deliver a concise call to action. Someone reading the ad should not have to guess at what you need them to do. If you ask, you are far more likely to receive.

5. Keep abbreviations and punctuation to a minimum.

If you don’t need to cut words short, don’t do it. For example, you might spell out search engine optimization rather than using SEO. You may state that you sell Xbox 360 games rather than just stating that you sell games. The more specific and detailed you are, the more likely a reader is to quickly understand your point and take action.

Once you start applying these writing tips to your PPC ads, you will see what a difference they make in your campaigns. They can easily triple your click through rate if you successfully apply them all in every ad you write. Find an ad that is struggling right now and rewrite it according to these tips. You should see a dramatic difference in results.

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Delray-Beach-Internet-Marketing“Should I use PPC for my business marketing plan?”While it is faster to get an ad listed in the search engine results through PPC then it is to get a link listed in the same search engine results through SEO, not every business will benefit from a PPC campaign.

You must ask yourself seven important questions before investing in PPC:

1. Is there an online market searching for my products and/or services?

This question will help you determine the relevancy of your business to what people are searching for online. PPC marketing only allows you to reach people who are actively searching for information, products or services through the search engines. If you cannot find heavily-searched keywords that relate directly to your business, then there is a chance that the online market just isn’t there at this time.

2. Do you need to boost traffic to your site as quickly as possible?

If you are in no hurry to build traffic to your site, then you can stick with SEO and social media marketing while spending less money. If you do want to get your website or online store off the ground as quickly as possible, then PPC is the fastest way to get the clicks coming in.

3. Do you want to attract local customers?

PPC allows you to target consumers within a particular geographical location or consumers that fit a variety of other demographics. If you want to attract locals from a particular region or consumers of a particular gender, PPC may work for your business.

4. Once you start your PPC campaign, what do the analytical tools tell you?

There are simple tools available to help you determine how well searchers are responding to your advertisements. If you aren’t getting the clicks that you know you deserve and/or visitors are not staying on your site very long, then you know there is a problem with the ad, the keywords, or the campaign in general.

5. Are you nervous about investing in SEO without testing your keywords?

PPC is a great way to test keywords without waiting months for your SEO campaign to deliver results (or not). If you want to use SEO but don’t want to waste your time, test with PPC first.

6. Do you know enough about PPC to manage a campaign successfully?

If not, it doesn’t mean your business is not suitable for PPC. It simply means you may need to hire professionals to look after your PPC campaign to ensure the best results possible. The other alternative is to learn more about this form of marketing, but that is more time-consuming than most business owners can afford.

7. Will your marketing budget accommodate the expense of PPC marketing?

Some PPC campaigns are more affordable than others, but you will never know what your expenses may run until you do a bit of keyword research. If you find that there is heavy competition for the keywords you need to target, then you will need a more sizable marketing budget.

This question was placed last because you have to think about your budget in terms of the other six factors. Considering your answers to all of those other questions, think about your chances of getting a great ROI from a PPC campaign. If there are enough people searching for your keywords yet your niche is not overly competitive, then you may find that PPC is your fastest and most affordable strategy for marketing online.

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Marketing to Christians

One thing we specialize in here at BMGcreative is helping new businesses and ministries get off the ground. It is actually one of the things we love to do. Start-ups are always exciting because we get to create something new.

But how do you market a new Christian business or ministry? Many eager new business owners want to push their faith through their business. While being “in your face” with a blatant Christian message usually isn’t the best route to take, we always encourage Christian business owners them to live their faith through their business.

Christians who do marketing
In the simplest sense marketing is advertising, promoting or telling others about a service, product or idea. So if we were to mix in Christian with marketing we would get someone who believes in Jesus that does advertising or promoting.

There are a lot of companies that are owned or run by Christians, but you wouldn’t know that overtly by their branding or marketing. However, once you get to know them, you can clearly see Christian principles in action rather than in their logo. Most of the successful Christian-owned businesses that I know operate in this way.

Christianity in marketing
One big mistake we see often are business owners that feel they need to proclaim Jesus and honor God by plastering Christianese and Christian symbols all over their business materials. I strongly agree that we need to honor God in all we do. However it may not be the best practice to put verses, icons and Christian wording all over our business collateral.

Please don’t get offended, but when people see crosses, Jesus hanging on a cross, and all other kinds of Christianese on your business materials, this almost always turns them off to your business. If you are truly trying to reach people with the message of the gospel, then build a relationship and be a witness to them. If you are trying to promote your business or ministry to others, not just Christians, then do it in a professional clear way that others can understand and won’t get turned away or confused by. God calls us to be salt, something that is palatable and tastes good. We are not called to be a red hot pepper. Use common sense in your marketing efforts in order to help attract people to you rather than making them run away.

Marketing to Christians
Now there is another way we can look at Christian marketing in the sense of actually marketing to Christians. If you are trying to reach only Christians, or any target market for that matter, you can break some of the typical marketing rules. Keeping the same message contained to a target market allows you the freedom to use language that you shouldn’t use when marketing to a general audience.

Keep your audience in mind
Whether you are a Christian in marketing or trying to market to Christians keep in mind who will be seeing your ad, brochure or billboard and ask how someone that doesn’t know you could interpret it. Oftentimes, seeing things from others’ perspective is difficult. For that reason, most companies hire marketing and branding agencies to make sure they have the most effective message developed to reach the right group of people.
It’s better to ask others that will give you honest advice than to waste efforts and resources on the wrong message reaching the wrong people.

For more information and a how-to guide visit BMGcreative.com/OneToday.

Grif Blackstone is the publisher of the Good News, the largest Christian newspaper in Florida and the president of BMGcreative, a full service web design and marketing company. Grif has helped hundreds of organizations build an effective brand and help them communicate who they are to their target market. Writer, speaker, and consultant, Grif is known for technology and business and is highly caffeinated. Contact him at: grif@bmgcreative.com or 954-229-2256.

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selling products online

The First Steps You Need to Undertake
Before examining online shopping carts, you will have to find your niche and buy the right domain. Doing research before selling products online is essential for maximizing profit. Trying to enter an overly competitive niche that has numerous strong players will decrease your chances of selling products online.

Figure out whether there is a relatively empty market niche. Is it possible to address a current consumer need? If not, you may work on creating a new need and building your own niche.

After picking up your target, it will be time to choose a domain name. It should be memorable and descriptive of your business idea. The domain name plays a role in search engine optimization, so think twice.

Find the Best Ecommerce Platform
Building an ecommerce website depends on finding the right software and online shopping cart. There are many services you can try, each one of these facilitating website development and optimization.

Here at BMG we love Magento for selling products online because of the customization possibilities, the numerous professional designs and the ease of adding new functionalities to the website. Magento makes it easy to showcase your products, to keep track of inventory and to do promotion in the most adequate ways.

When thinking about selling products online, you have to develop a website that is functional and innovative. Customers have many possibilities to choose among. If your website fails delivering the best performance, clients will simply spend their money elsewhere. This is why choosing the best online shopping carts is so vitally important.

Build Your Website and Get Started
Building a functional website is essential but you also need a merchant account to get started with selling products online.

A merchant account will allow you to accept online payments, whether these come from a credit card or a payment system like PayPal. To set up a merchant account, you will need to contact a local bank or another institution that deals with online payments. There are particular fees and conditions you need to research before you pick the bank to work with.

Next, you need to complete the application process. Websites like PayPal enable you to set up a merchant account there, as well, in case you want to solely accept such payments without having to deal with credit cards and banks.

Remember that the beginning steps are important and having professionals by your side can make this process run smooth! Here at BMG we pride our selves on creating customized and themed shopping carts that will help sell your products online!

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