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Start-up achieves 900% Facebook fan growth through social media contest

Published on January 18, 2013
Tags: Internet Communication

A wedding photography directory has achieved a massive increase in its Facebook fans by up to 900%, simply by posting a social media contest on their Facebook page, according to a recent case study by MarketingSherpa.com.

SnapKnot had previously tried using Google Adwords and other marketing strategies to get people to use their website, with little success. When the company set up a social media contest however, they began to see a huge increase in their fans, along with their Twitter followers, site visitors and paying customers.

The purpose behind SnapKnot is to encourage photographers to sign up for membership or to open an account on their website. Those photographers are then available directly to any customers who browse the site.

“Our main goal is to increase our membership, but we also wanted to provide a platform where we could have on-going lead generation and then just build up that general brand awareness, specifically with photographers but also with the bridal audience," said Mike Rheaume, Co-founder of SnapKnot.

The company could only do this if they had a large database of wedding photographers. They decided to set up a social media contest with the prize being a choice of two high-end cameras including a Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D Mark III.

What the social media contest involved

Fans submitted basic information into the web form such as their name, job title and if they were a professional or amateur photographer. Only one entry was allowed, although bonus entries could be earned by sharing the campaign in a unique referral link. If someone entered the contest through that link, the sharer then received five bonus entries.

The contest went on for 90 days from August 15th to November 15th. Since then SnapKnot have received a 900% growth in their Facebook fans, 64.5% growth in their Twitter followers and a 60% increase in unique visitor traffic to their website. During the free month which was included as an entry bonus, around 250 photographers signed up to the website.

These figures are phenomenal for a small start-up business. But how do you mimic these results?

Steps to inbound marketing success

The first step is to know where you’re at as a company. It’s wise to have some experience with business and consumers before launching a contest. The next step is to look at what other organisations have done and try to adapt their approach to your own.

Understand your audience, who they are, what they do and set guidelines for the contest which makes it easy for them to enter and to share. Promote the contest via social media, email marketing and other partnerships and then finally, announce the contest winner. It’s also a good idea to have secondary prizes and keep your fans informed of upcoming contests, so they don’t feel too disappointed. In this way, they are encouraged to keep interacting with your website and remain loyal to your brand.

By Chelsey Evans

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What’s your most important marketing source for attracting inbound traffic in 2013?

Published on January 18, 2013
Tags: Web Design London, Internet Communication

In 2012, marketing campaigns began to use more inbound elements in their efforts to generate more lead traffic and convert these to sales. The MarketingSherpa 2012 Inbound Marketing Handbook states that when going into 2012, the most important lead sources were SEO, social media and blogs.

Statistics from the MarketingSherpa handbook indicate that ‘94% listed SEO as an important lead source,’ while ‘85% listed social media as an important lead source.’ Blogging meanwhile came in at third place, with ‘68% listing blogs as an important lead source’.

Some good case studies of companies who used these marketing tactics include the regional eye care provider, Hauser-Ross Eye Institute & Surgicenter based just outside of Chicago. They managed to use geo-targeted keywords to bring in more traffic to their business, ‘through the side door’. In doing this, they brought in 333% more revenue. The key to their success here is that the company found their niche and conducted the keyword research necessary to create a strategy that’s right for them.

Social media strategy for attracting more inbound marketing

Meanwhile a good example of a successful social media strategy which is being used to generate more lead sales is software company, Firefish Software – an online recruitment software company. They started in January 2010 and by October 2011 they had created a campaign which utilised the best of their marketing activities; trade shows, traditional marketing activities and outbound lead generation, i.e. social media.

By executing an inbound strategy and focusing on creating multiple inbound social media channels, i.e. building twitter followers and increasing Facebook fans, FireFish managed to build on their success quickly from an early stage. Along with promoting FireFish both virtually and at trade marketing shows, the overall effort was on focusing the inbound marketing team’s efforts rather than on sales.

The results speak for themselves and over a one year period, the inbound strategy proved to be successful with a 335% increase in FireFish’s overall website traffic, along with a 190% increase in leads generated. This meant a higher quality of leads and a customer retention rate of 94%.

Create fresh content

A good example of how content marketing has been successfully used to attract more inbound traffic is by creating user-generated content. Coffee4Less is an ecommerce website which offers coffee and other related products. The website allows customers to write reviews of their products. As a result, they have seen a 10% lift in organic search traffic and a 125% higher conversion rate for the visitors who interacted with them. This was all from having 6,000 reviews added to their website over 3 years.

The reason for each of the above case studies receiving an increase in inbound traffic is because there is a consistent flow of fresh content being produced in each of these instances. Based on these statistics, which of the above strategies will suit your business in attracting inbound traffic to your website in 2013?

By Chelsey Evans

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Google+ introduces 18 new features

Published on January 4, 2013
Tags: Internet Communication

Are you using Google+ yet, for either business or leisure? Google’s social media site has now introduced 18 new features to make them stand out against other social media networks. These new features are based around photos, mobile, hangouts and much more.

While some may have written off Google+ as a ghost town, this is an unfair assessment. The social networking site now boasts over 400 million members, 100 million of which are active monthly members. If your business isn’t on Google+ you could be missing out on a valuable way of connecting with your market.

Thankfully these new features that Google+ have introduced provide some great enhancements to Google+’s core functionality and will encourage users to engage much more with the website than they would have previously. The additional features have been added in to enhance the mobile experience of using Google+, a wise move given that the future of the internet is becoming increasingly mobile driven.

What are the new Google+ features?

One of the biggest additions has to be the ‘Link’ button which makes sharing links to blog posts really easy. Meanwhile their Photo button makes capturing your images on the go more convenient. Another addition is the ‘Check-in’ button which allows you to update where your current location is. Location based social media sharing is a big part of social sharing, so it’s a clever move by Google+ who are looking for new ways to connect people.

If you use the Google+ app on your iPhone you’ll notice that on iOS which is the new version, you can swipe through photos albums in a line, so all you have to do is tap the screen once to view them. It also lets the user pan across the screen or zoom in slowly to view pictures. The comments section underneath photos will also look different because it now shows other users your content from small snippets of text to long comments.

The ‘Communities’ feature is a recent addition too and it’s designed as a replacement for the old school groups, forums and message boards. The Communities feature allows users to set up their own place. It’s different to facebook’s profile pages for businesses and is much more like Yahoo! Groups, allowing members to set up their own profile place to discuss their hobbies or interests whether that’s football, technology or world events, etc.

Google+ Communities  gives users the option of creating a community for example about music and then creating a number of sub-categories within this such as ‘Jazz’, ‘Pop’, ‘Country’ and ‘Heavy Metal’ to name just a few. You also have the option of subscribing to any updates from your favourite circles. You can receive mobile notifications from these and the purpose is to encourage more interaction with Google+ Communities on your mobile and tablet devices.

These are just some of the interesting features which Google+ have integrated into their site to make sharing social media even easier and more exciting.

By Chelsey Evans

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Which data is most important for capturing lead generation data?

Published on December 3, 2012
Tags: Internet Communication, Web Development London

A recent market research chart from MarketingSherpa.com analysed a range of top form fields from a variety of their respondents.  Their findings from a collection of lead generation data discovered that ‘the selection of form fields on the landing page can potentially affect volume and quality of conversions’.

So if for example on your landing page on your website, you include too many required fields, the number of leads generated will fall. This happens because many potential prospects might not be interested in providing a lot of personal information, due to it being time consuming or because they’re worried about how it might be used.

What the results found

The leads that do provide their information into these fields will usually be of a better quality, allowing you to capture this data more effectively and gain a broader prospect of who is using your website. Ultimately this will allow you to use appropriate marketing techniques to target your prospective audience.

Similarly if you don’t include enough fields, then the quality of your leads will suffer but it means that you will increase the volume of prospective leads who will share their data. At the top of the chart for example, was email address with 96% of respondents indicating this is the most important field for capturing data and as a means of staying in contact with their target audience.

In second place was the lead’s name with 89% of respondents claiming this was vital information. This is because most landing pages need to capture a lead’s name and email address for the basics of profiling their audience and addressing them appropriately.

In contrast the least important fields for collecting data were considered to be budget (17%), website (20%), key pain point (23%), timeframe for purchase (24%) and mobile phone number (24%).

Balancing quality vs quantity leads

So what should you choose; quality or quantity? Ideally you want a high number of quality leads but interestingly, the MarketingSherpa article found the criteria that counts the most is the one that relates to the most lead-capture optimisation. This was highlighted by the MECLABS Conversion Heuristic which found that the largest response was to email addresses and names but after this, there was a significant drop (by 38%) to the next category at just 51%.

In summary

Today’s consumers are used to doing multiple things at a fast space, so it seems logical that many would abandon a lead generation form if it asked for too much information. Time is precious and capturing as many leads as possible is vital, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of not fulfilling the lead’s basic needs. It also depends on the context and type of business you’re running. For example in regard to the bottom of the chart, many of these fields would be included on niche sites such as business and consulting web pages where specific information is required so that the client’s request can be handled properly and provided with an adequate solution.

By Chelsey Evans

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Research shows most effective means of testing value propositions

Published on October 22, 2012
Tags: Usability, Internet Communication

In trying to gauge your own marketing success, it can be very useful to know which value propositions will be most productive and give the highest return on investment for your company. But how do you begin a true and productive testing campaign?

Earlier this year, MarketingSherpa launched its Lead Generation Benchmark Survey in order to discover the most effective means of testing value propositions. Some of the participants in the survey were asked which methods they felt were the most effective and compelling for website visitors. 64% of the respondents said that they felt landing pages were effective, with email marketing campaigns coming in a close second on 51%. Just 40% said they felt other types of website pages were effective, with 36% supporting pay-per-click advertisements such as those displayed by Google Adwords. In contrast, just 16% of respondents said that they felt offline advertising - such as direct mail and print advertising - was effective.
Respondents were asked to select up to three of the categories, allowing them to choose what they felt were effectively the three most effective methods of marketing. Interestingly, the order of the options seems to closely follow the inherent associated cost, with landing pages being effectively free, working down to costly offline advertising at the bottom of the tree. Was this factor borne in mind by the respondents when considering the options? After all, the cost of a marketing campaign will have a direct effect on its profitability and perceived effectiveness. As business owners continue to feel the pinch of the current economic climate, was the inherent cost of marketing campaigns perceived to be abnormally negative, leading to an artificially downgraded view of its effectiveness? The permutations and perceptions abound, but as with any survey which is built on the opinions of its respondents, the true underlying causes can never be fully known.
In terms of testing conversion factors, the results of this survey seem to bear similar results. Landing pages and email marketing campaigns often come out on top in terms of conversions with offline marketing and pay-per-click campaigns ranking lower. Although the new data may not be groundbreaking, it does give a fascinating insight into the beliefs and perceptions of marketers and business owners which, in itself, can be incredibly useful in terms of planning marketing campaigns. After all, marketing is all about perception and it should not be dismissed as a factor purely because it is ‘unscientific’ or unimportant.
Value proposition can be very easily tested through using landing pages. With virtually unlimited options in terms of testing the content of these pages, marketers can test continuously in order to find the ‘sweet spot’ which will maximise conversion rates, lower bounce rates and increase profits for the business. Of course, these things are all notoriously hard to do with the slower and more rigid medium of offline advertising. However, 16% is not an insignificant figure, so offline marketing clearly does still have its own appeal for many.

By Chelsey Evans

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