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    7 Tips for Creating Flawless Emails for Your Business

    Last updated 22 hours ago

    Is email marketing or lead nurturing part of your business marketing strategy, but you’ve found creating great emails to be a challenge? If you’re a local business who wants to improve the quality of your emails, check out these seven email marketing tips. They’ll help you to create flawless emails that not only look and sound great but also work to convert more of your leads into customers and help you to retain more existing customers.

    1. Write Succinct and Compelling Subject Lines

    According to a recent study, email subject lines should be about six to ten words in length. Subject lines should capture your audience’s attention and give them a reason to open the email by addressing their wants and needs. Popular subject lines are often:

    ·   Actionable: “50% Off [New Service] — Call and Book Yours Today!”

    ·   Educational: “Want to Try Yoga? Check Out This Beginner’s Video”

    ·   Local: “[Location] Neighbors: Enjoy This Buy One Get One Free Offer”

    ·   Inclusive: “Join Us This Weekend at the [Company Name] Open House!”

    ·   Newsworthy: “[Company Name] News Flash — [New Location] Opening Saturday"

    2. Create Cohesive and Engaging Body Copy 

    Your email’s body copy should reflect the email subject line. After all, your readers opened the email based on the subject line; thus, a cohesive message that supports the email subject line needs to follow. (Email copy that strays from the subject line might also be construed as a “bait and switch” tactic to your readers and relegate you to their spam folder.)

    When it comes to copy length, keep your message as succinct as possible but don’t exclude any vital facts your readers need to know. As with your subject line, keep the wants and needs of your audience in mind when writing body copy. How does your product or service benefit them? What does your audience have to gain by doing business with you rather than with your competitors? What is your company’s value proposition? Answering these questions can help you create dynamic messaging that helps convert more leads into customers and encourages current customers to keep doing business with you.

    3. Include a Strong CTA

    The body copy should conclude with a direct call to action (CTA). Effective CTAs let your readers know what their next step should be after they’ve finished reading the body copy. Some CTA examples include:

    ·   “Request a free quote!”

    ·   “Download your free ebook.”

    ·   “Redeem your coupon now.”

    4. Proofread Your Email Before Sending

    You’ve heard that the “devil is in the details,” which is why you should always proofread your emails carefully. Something as simple as an outdated phone number, misspelled name, or a typo in your brick-and-mortar address can confuse your audience, and put you in a bad light, too!

    A good editing tactic is to read your email out loud to yourself. Does it sound too wordy? Does it include relevant dates, instructions, or other important information? Do all the links, including your CTA button, open the correct web page? You should also ask a business partner or trusted employee to read the email after you’ve proofread it. A second pair of “fresh eyes” can often catch the minor mistakes and typos that you might have missed.

    5. Ensure Your Emails are Professionally Designed

    What does design have to do with email writing? What your email looks like is just as important — if not more so — than what it actually says. Refrain from using too many colors, outdated fonts, low-quality images, or large photos that may not download quickly. Also, make sure to add alt text to the images in your emails in case they don’t load on the page, and avoid putting all of the copy in your image. You should test your emails to make sure they’re readable on tablets and mobile phones, too.

    If you lack design skills, consider using an email template like those that are available with email marketing or lead nurturing software. If you have more in-depth needs, hiring a professional graphic designer who knows email best practices can be worth the investment.

    6. Be Cognizant of Audience Values

    Be sensitive to the values of your audience and refrain from being offensive or controversial in your messaging. Your email content should always be related to your business and refrain from topics like politics or religion (unless you're a political or religious organization), and other sensitive subjects.

    7. Comply With the CAN-SPAM Act

    Did you know that there is a federal trade law regarding email marketing? Known as the CAN-SPAM Act, this law is designed to protect consumers from deceptive email practices, such as sending emails with incorrect subject lines. Law violations can cost up to $16,000 per email, so take the time to learn what you can and cannot do in your email marketing. The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection published a Compliance Guide for Business to help companies comply with the law. According to the guidelines, your emails need:

    ·   Accurate header information

    ·   Accurate subject lines

    ·   Identification as ad

    ·   A physical postal address

    ·   Easy-to-find opt-out information

    The law also states that as a business owner, you need to honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You’re also responsible for any actions that third parties make on your behalf, so make sure you’re monitoring any email marketing vendors you’ve hired. If you have any doubts about whether or not your email marketing complies with federal law, seek legal advice.

    With a little time and effort, you can give your emails the polish they might need to stand out with your audience and help you to retain and close more business.

    Do you use email marketing and lead nurturing in your business? What kinds of emails do your leads and customers respond to the most? Let us know with a comment!

    About the Author

    Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog. Follow her on Twitter.

     

     

    Do You Have a Mobile Website? Why It Matters to Local Business

    Last updated 2 days 23 hours ago

    If you’ve ever conducted a search on your smartphone’s browser or a local app — and we know you have! — then you know how easy it can be. But for the local business that’s not showing up in search results, this technology can be detrimental.  

    While mobile has become essential to many of our livelihoods, many small businesses haven’t caught on. In fact, a recent website study found that only six percent of SMBs —  yes, you read that right — have mobile websites!

    Is this true for your business? Weigh in in our poll now, and learn why having a mobile site really matters in local search. 

    Today, Local Consumers Expect a Mobile Site

    Today’s consumers are savvy. And, they visit a lot of websites before making a purchase decision. That’s why your website needs to have a modern design and provide a great user experience for visitors to give it the time of day. And now that 88 percent of local searches are performed on smartphones, that design and experience must include mobile to grab the attention of mobile searchers—and get them to take action.

    People Rely on Mobile to Look for Local Businesses

    Did you know that more than 60 percent of consumers look for local information via mobile? But if your site isn’t built to display on mobile, it may not even show up in the search results. And that means you could be losing out on a lot of traffic to your site.  And, in addition to having a website that’s optimized for mobile, make sure you claim and update your local listings so mobile searchers can find you there, too. 

    Google Warning May Drive Searchers Away

    Now, Google warns mobile searchers if a website they’re about to visit isn’t completely optimized for mobile viewing. Once this warning notifies users they may visit a home page rather than the page they requested, users may choose to visit the website anyway, even if it’s not the page they are looking for. However, it’s probably more likely that the searcher will choose another organic search result to complete their research or purchase. The outcome? You could lose a lot of potential customers from organic search.

    Is your website optimized for mobile search? Make sure you vote in our poll and let us know where your site stands!

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    About the Author

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

    5 Talks That Can Boost Your Team & Your Business

    Last updated 5 days ago

    Having trouble getting the most out of your marketing? One of your biggest challenges could be how well you’ve trained and developed your employees so they can support your ongoing marketing efforts.  The team that works with you every day is a huge part of your business’ effectiveness, and you should take the time to communicate with them, develop their roles, and keep them informed.  

    In fact, providing continuous training and communication about their roles will not only help them feel more motivated, but it can also help them work to close more business. So, here are five conversations you need to have with your team to help them and your business grow – starting now! 

    1. What Your Social Media Policy Is

    Using employees as advocates for your business on social media can both boost employee engagement and help spread the word about your business.  But when you empower employees to post about your business online, make sure you have a social media policy in place to cover them and your business in the case of a mishap. This means creating a written set of guidelines those employees should follow either when posting on behalf of your business (on your professional account) or on any public platforms where they can be identified as employees of your business.  Having your team read and sign your formal social media policy will help them know what to avoid to prevent a blunder – as well as the ramifications for posting something they shouldn’t.

    Your social media policy should provide a specific set of rules for any employees you designate to speak on your behalf, such as by posting updates and comments on social media sites under your business profile, responding to reviews on local listings and review sites, or even creating blog posts.  It should also cover employees’ personal accounts, especially if they are publicly associated with business. Your policy should reflect your business code of conduct so you’re not held liable for any poor behavior your employees may be engaging in online. 

    2. Coaching on Phone Handling

    Do you know how your employees are answering your phones — or if they’re answering them at all? Does your staff know the right process for collecting callers’ contact details, providing correct information about your business, products, or services, and scheduling appointments or closing the sale? These are critical steps in getting a caller to convert, and missing one of them could mean losing a potential customer. Basic phone etiquette — being friendly, helpful, and professional — can also be a huge factor in whether a prospect will do business with you, or whether a current customer will come back or tell others about you.

    It’s important to not only train your staff on the basics of proper call handling, but you should also be reviewing their call handling techniques and coaching them for success. For many small businesses, call recording is vital in helping them evaluate how their staff is handling phone conversations with potential and current customers and providing necessary coaching to make every call great. Plus, call recording and tracking can provide a number of other great benefits to your business, too, like helping you follow up with prospects and track which marketing brought them to your business. 

    3. Email Best Practices

    In addition to phone calls, many businesses rely on emails to communicate with prospective and current customers. If others on your staff are responsible for managing your email list and creating and sending emails, make sure they are up to speed on email marketing best practices, so whatever they’re sending makes your business look reputable and professional.  Sending out poorly written or poorly designed emails can turn off a prospect or customer from giving your business another thought.

    So, create some basic email templates and processes that your team members can easily use and follow. Then provide them with an email checklist that includes the following to ensure a great experience for anyone on the receiving end:

    • A compelling and informative subject line
    • Accurate business contact information
    • Professional design and content
    • Current offers or promotions
    • Strong call to action
    • Edited copy, free of typos or misspellings
    • Correct recipient or email list
    • Simple method for opting out

    4. Your Current Marketing Initiatives

    Keeping your staff in the know about the offline and online marketing you’re using to promote your business is vital. Your employees should know which products or services you’re promoting, any offers or promotions you’re running, and on which platforms. That way, your employees can become an instrumental part in helping you keep track of what marketing is bringing people to your business and provide the right information to your prospects and customers that helps them convert.

    For instance, if you’re running a new radio ad and someone calls your business, your staff will know to ask the prospect if they heard your ad on the radio. Or, if you have a 20% off service offer, your employees should know all the details to redeem the offer and keep a record of its use.  So, it’s vital to keep them informed of your current marketing tactics so they can be assets to your business and help you keep track of which of your marketing efforts are working best

    5. Recognition for a Job Well Done

    Recognizing outstanding team members will do wonders for boosting employee engagement and morale – which can produce more motivated, productive employees. Not only is it important to regularly acknowledge individual team members, but you should also reward your staff as a whole to let them know you appreciate all their hard work. You can do this with something as simple as a catered lunch or a fun team outing as a way to say “thank you.” This not only builds your team’s relationships with you and with one other, but regular recognition can also make them more productive and effective at their jobs.

    Taking the time to train and develop your employees on will make it easier for them to communicate with and convert valuable leads and customers – and easier for you to let them.

    Which of these talks do you plan on having with your staff to improve employee engagement and effectiveness? Which conversations you had already, and how did they improve the results of your marketing? 

    About the Author

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

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    Behind the Marketing: The Technology that Drives ReachLocal Solutions

    Last updated 8 days ago

    In the age of digital marketing, there’s one thing that can separate a good campaign from a great campaign: the technology behind it. And at ReachLocal, we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes digital marketing technology work to help local businesses succeed online.

    Our experience running thousands of high-quality search advertising, display, retargeting, and SEO campaigns has helped us continuously refine our solutions in order to help our clients get more leads and customers online.  So, what does our technology look like? Here’s an overview of how four of our technologies work behind the scenes to get our small business clients real results from their marketing.

    Conversion Optimization

    For many local businesses, running search advertising campaigns on their own can be a complex and time-consuming task. From deciding on a budget to picking the right keywords to improving performance – search advertising requires a lot of expertise and continuous adjustment.  

    That’s why we developed a search advertising solution that does this all for local businesses. First, our experienced team evaluates lists of keywords and crafts the right text ads for your campaign. Then our conversion optimization technology gets to work optimizing your ads to get you the best visibility on search engines based on the keywords that drive conversions—not clicks. This all helps ReachLocal clients get better results from their search advertising.

    Learn how the conversion optimization technology built into ReachSearch search engine advertising drives more conversions in this infographic:

    Engagement Optimization

    Buying display advertising on your own can often be difficult and expensive if you don’t have access to premium websites and a variety of audience targeting options.. For many businesses, a “spray and pray” approach results in placement anywhere online, even if it’s not relevant to their business. And, if you’re looking to run ads on specific sites, you can expect to spend a large amount, depending on the site(s) and availability of advertising space. Both can leave you with few results.

    Our display advertising service not only gives you a wide range of audience targeting options, but it uses a technology we call engagement optimization to get your ads the best placement for the lowest cost. How does it work?

    We leverage our extensive network of publishers to get ads in front of the right audience. Then, we track impressions, clicks, and conversions and place your ads in front of the right audiences, so you get more brand awareness over time.

    See how engagement optimization technology helps ReachDisplay drive more brand awareness in this infographic:

    Dual-Approach Retargeting

    Retargeting, when done right, can be an extremely efficient way to target consumers with display ads who have already shown some interest in a business. But did you know there are multiple ways to retarget interested consumers?

    By incorporating two types of retargeting, search retargeting and site retargeting, our ReachRetargeting solution helps increase the chances our clients’ ads will be shown to consumers. Search retargeting reaches consumers who have shown interest by searching for keywords and phrases relevant to the business, while site retargeting – what you may already be familiar with- targets those consumers who have visited a business’ website.  The same engagement optimization technology in ReachDisplay is used to track ad impressions, clicks, and conversions to continuously improve the visibility and performance of search and site retargeting dispay ads. 

    See how our two-in-one retargeting solution, ReachRetargeting, builds brand awareness in this infographic:

    ROI-Driven Search Engine Optimization

    Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a key part of any digital marketing strategy. And while the major search engines have different algorithms they use to surface content, they have the same basic principles: display relevant and authoritative results to searchers. But how do businesses today make sure their websites and content can help them to get found online – and how do they measure the results?

    At ReachLocal, it starts with a website that’s part of our ReachEdge marketing system. This website is already designed as a foundation for SEO and is optimized to drive conversions like calls and emails from site visitors. Then, our ReachSEO technology builds on that foundation with onsite and offsite best practices, boosting SMBs’ websites, social media presence, and local listings to help drive even more organic traffic.

    The technology built into our ReachEdge system is unique in that it tracks the path from a click on an organic search result all the way through to a customer.  That way it can show real results from SEO, like visits, contacts, and customers – not rank. Plus, with a simple way to identify the customer lifetime value, this technology also calculates actual ROI from ReachSEO.

    See how our combined ReachEdge and ReachSEO solution drives ROI from organic results in this infographic:

    Want to learn more about how ReachLocal technology can work for your business? Visit our website to see more or to contact us.

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how local business owners can reach more customers through inbound marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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    Want Insight Into Your Twitter Performance? Try the New Organic Dashboard

    Last updated 12 days ago

    Ever wonder how many impressions and engagements your organic tweets generate on Twitter? If you’re a Twitter advertiser or a Twitter Card publisher, you’ll now be able to see all of this data and more with Twitter’s rollout of its enhanced tweet activity dashboard.

    Analytics in this new Twitter dashboard provide valuable data into how well (or not so well) any particular organic tweet is performing on the platform. Understanding these new insights can help you see what topics reach your audience and can help you create and curate content that gets the most engagement, clicks, retweets, and replies from your followers.

    With the enhanced Twitter dashboard, you can view:

    · Real-time data about your organic tweets, i.e., how your tweets are performing at any given moment

    · Impressions, or the number of times a particular tweet is seen by users

    · Number of times a user engages with a particular tweet, including clicks, re-tweets, replies, followers, and favorites

    · Total number of impressions your tweets have received in the last 28 days

    · All this data in downloadable CSV file

    In addition to the dashboard rollout, Twitter also recently analyzed the organic tweets and their reach for 200 active SMBs and Fortune 500 companies who advertise on Twitter. It found that brands tweeting two to three times per day can reach an audience size that’s equal to 30 percent of their follower base, and one brand saw tweets reach as much as 95 percent of its followers.

    Whether or not you advertise on Twitter, the takeaway here is to make sure you’re on the platform and that you’re tweeting engaging content out at least twice a day. This can include tweeting the same post twice or tweeting out two separate posts. Doing so can help drive tweet clicks and re-tweets among your audience, which helps keep your company top-of-mind with your followers.

    Are you a Twitter advertiser who’s using the new dashboard? What do you like best about it?

    Let us know with a comment!

    About the Author

    Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog. Follow her on Twitter.

     

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