Building Relationships with your Leads

You’ve invested time and energy in social media, content marketing, you’ve created a call to action that’s been generating leads, and your email list of contacts is growing. Now how do you generate sales from your current leads and expand your reach to attract new leads?

Let’s take a look at two effective techniques –influencer marketing and customer emails – and how they can help you build relationships with your leads.

Influencer marketing

Using key influencers to promote your brand to a wider market, should be an important part of your overall marketing strategy. Today’s key influencers are often bloggers, and building relationships with bloggers, within your niche, can be more valuable than money spent on traditional advertising channels. According to a recent survey, 81% of consumers say they trust advice from their favourite bloggers while only 33% trust ads.

Word-of-mouth marketing is very relevant and when word gets spread by industry influencers, there’s more potential for capturing the attention of new users and increasing your reputation.

Build a strategy around influencers

Most brands today understand the importance of content marketing, and 77% of marketers use blogging to increase brand influence. Once you’ve invested time and effort into your own blog, how do you spread your reach by connecting with other bloggers?

Software such as GroupHigh can help you identify focus areas for your target audience and find bloggers and social media influencers who will be relevant to your message. Once you’ve identified them, determine how to collaborate to the best effect. Building a successful campaign involves:

  • Identifying your goals and understanding what you want to accomplish can help you decide on whom you want to work with and what approach you’ll take.
  • Get creative. Everyone likes a good product review, but more than their attention, you want to get them involved. Sponsor giveaways for ‘best comments’ or solicit user-generated content and feature the ‘best of’ on your site.
  • Provide high-quality images and suggest creative visuals that bloggers can use for their Instagram stream.
  • Create share-worthy messages. Target a devoted niche and focus on content quality rather than traffic analytics.
  • Research your competitors. Take the time to really analyse their successes.  What does a successful campaign look like?  Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from outside of your industry either.

Realistic Expectations

It’s important to understand that blogging is a business too. Cooperation from bloggers isn’t always free, especially the high-level influencers. When you weigh the benefits, though, blogger influence often justifies the costs. Spending on influencer marketing might be an eventuality- as part of your overall social media marketing costs.

Connect with local bloggers (i.e. newspaper sites and community leaders.) This is valuable publicity, for free! Request backlinks to your site to drive traffic and boost SEO ratings. If you don’t earn a link, that’s OK, you still gained recognition and a boost to your reputation.

Craft Smart Correspondence

The other tactic for building relationships is connecting with customers through email marketing. Email lets you communicate your brand message in personalized format while providing leads the opportunity to click through and purchase.

Segment your email list. If you’re tracking analytics, you already know where you leads are coming from. Did they sign up through your latest Facebook ad, download your eBook, or were they referred by an existing customer? You can tailor your emails based on the specific marketing approach each customer responded to.

Other ways to segment include demographics and survey responses. The list goes on, depending on the product or service that you are selling. The point is that by breaking down your large list into smaller segments, you can send out targeted correspondence which translates to a higher likelihood of generating a response.

Personalize each email. Include details about past purchases and target items to customer interests based on those purchases. The more you demonstrate an understanding of your customers, the more likely they are to return and become loyal buyers.

Building relationships with your leads is the key to conversion. Building trust with influencers and maintaining communication through email marketing are effective methods of establishing these important relationships. And these are the relationships that create results!  

courtney.capellan.headshotCourtney Capellan is a Digital Analyst for hotelmarketingWorks. When she’s not writing about marketing trends she enjoys writing fiction, practicing yoga and treasure hunting. Follow her on Twitter @courtcapellan

What Is Shared Hosting and Is it Reliable for a Business Website?

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photo credit: flickr

Imagine that you are trying to start up a website for your company and you want to consider your options.

Well, you first should perhaps consider what you are going to do for the exact purpose of the website (whether that is marketing, actually selling products, or offering an online service).

Then, you might want to consider some of the design elements of the website and how it might be the best thing for your particular clientele. Yet with all of this to consider, one question still remains. How should I host this website?

You can use shared hosting or dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting will mean a single server for your website and that server has what you want on it and only what you want on it. Shared hosting means sharing the server space with several (or many, depending on the service) other websites.

Try to think of dedicated hosting as living alone and shared hosting as having unknown roommates with unknown needs and dispositions.

Based on these definitions, shared hosting is almost always cheaper, as there are several users sharing the costs.

Responsibility

 

That being said, shared hosting also shares the responsibilities among those using the server, as well as the consequences. For example, another company could be engaging in spamming practices and could get your IP blacklisted from search engines. This is not good for your business and it would be a large problem to fix.

However, if you don’t have a dedicated IT professional or some other service that manages your computer networks, websites, and systems, then you might want to lean toward shared hosting. Hosting services often put up protections for you and there will often be a weight of responsibility on the shared server should something go wrong. You will also not need all of the technical expertise that is needed with using a dedicated server (although some options might have a dedicated and managed server, for a price of course).

There are great limitations, though, on some of that protection. Shared hosting is often not so easily compatible with some security protocols, and if another website is compromised on your server then all of the websites could become compromised.

If you need data and/or your website to be absolutely safe and that is your highest priority, avoid shared hosting like the plague and do it yourself. If you do it yourself, you can control everything and take the risks you want to, and no more.

Bandwidth

With shared hosting, you are also going to share the bandwidth. Do you only expect your website to get a little bit of traffic? Then shared hosting is fine. Otherwise, your customers may experience lag or other problems should the other websites on the server get a lot of traffic at the same time you are. They won’t blame the shared server like you might, but they might directly blame you for their poor experience.

So, to answer the question about whether shared hosting is reliable and a good idea, you must ask another question. Do I trust the people sharing with me? More specifically, you should be asking the question “Do I trust the people sharing with me enough so that a vital part of my business is in their hands?”

The answer, if you are a large organization that can afford better options, is probably not. Otherwise, it might be great for a simple website with some contact information. As with many things relating to technology, the choice is yours and only you have all the information. Thank you for reading and we hope you make an informed decision on how to move forward with your website.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 5.06.11 PMCaroline is a technology enthusiast and blogger who writes for www.securethoughts.com. She enjoys writing about technology and her main area of interest is internet security.

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