How to improve your search ranking on Yelp

If you are running a small business – say, a mechanic shop, diner, dentistry or hair salon, chances are people are talking about your business on Yelp. Over 30 million customers have written a review of a local business using Yelp and about 78 million folks check out those reviews every month. The site’s popularity is such that a search for a business by name could list it’s Yelp review even before the business’ own website.

Getting a positive (or negative) review on Yelp is not hard, but since a big chunk of Yelp’s 78 million monthly users are accessing reviews directly via their website or app, the challenge is getting your business at the top of Yelp’s search results. Here are five tips for improving your ranking on Yelp –

1. Get more reviews. Unless your business is the only one Continue reading “How to improve your search ranking on Yelp”

Say goodbye to e-blasts and hello to engagement

one way e-communication via eblastIf you are sending “e-blasts” to your customers or supporters – please, stop doing it now. This outdated style of email marketing has the same results as fax broadcasts of press releases; your message is ending up in your recipient’s trash.

While email marketing is still an effective way to communicate with an audience, the one-way communication style of the “e-blast” is over. Messaging your subscribers today means doing more than sending emails with commands like “buy, buy”, “click, click”, or, “register now!” If you want to communicate with your subscribers effectively, think “engagement”.

Engaging your subscribers means looping them into a two- or multi-way communication versus subjecting them to one-way communication. The fact is, social media have raised the overall expectations of e-communications to this level. The prevalence of social networks and their popularity in comparison to Websites suggests that subscribers are more drawn to engagement and the communication arena where they are able to give feedback and participate.

E-blasts - do they work?
Example of an E-blast

Here are examples of steps you can take to make these three popular email marketing asks more appealing:

1. Donate. You’ve stated your worthy cause and have asked for a generous donation. Make it engaging by inviting your subscriber to join a community of volunteers, attend a Meetup in their area or present an opportunity for your would-be donors to get up close and personal with a beneficiary or your organization’s leadership. Even if most of your subscribers don’t take up the invitation to engage, the fact that you present this opportunity will help to legitimize your fund-raising effort.

2. Register. You’ve stated the what, where, when and have asked your recipient to “REGISTER NOW!” Make it engaging by inviting your subscribers to also meet other registrants in your organization’s social network on Facebook or elsewhere. Email solicitation for event registration typically have the recipient asking “is this worth my time and money?”, “will I know anyone there?” or “who’s going?”. Creating a social network around your event is a great way to create buzz and a community that will engage your subscribers – and hopefully motive them to register.

3. Buy. You’ve included a nice big picture of your product with an attractive sale price – and a big “Buy Now!” button. Make it engaging by including the opportunity to share or “Like” the product on Facebook and other networks and allow subscribers to share their thoughts, enthusiasm or questions about your product in their network of friends and family. This simple step could help promote your product further than you imagined.

A popular concern for marketers considering a more engaging e-communication strategy is negative feedback. But the best approach to managing negative sentiment is to create the space for it and be a part of the conversation. So say goodbye one-way communication via e-blasts, and hello to engagement and higher conversion rates!

How to Tweet from a Phone

How to Tweet from a Mobile PhoneIt’s easy to send tweets online via your computer and just as  easy to send tweets from your mobile phone. There are two main ways to send tweets from your phone – 1) via text messaging, and 2) by using a Twitter application designed for your phone. Here’s how to do both –

Texting Your Tweets

  1. Log into your Twitter account on the Web at twitter.com
  2. Find your name in the upper right corner of the page and select settings from its drop-down menu (alternatively, go to http://twitter.com/settings/account)
  3. Click on ‘Mobile’
  4. Enter your mobile or cell phone number
  5. Follow the instructions by texting the word displayed to the number or code provided – this will activate your phone to text your tweets.
  6. Save the number provided – to send tweets via text messaging, just send a message to the number you have saved.

Popular FAQ – Will people see my mobile phone number when I text my tweets? No, they will see your tweets as if you sent them from a computer.

Tweeting by Mobile Phone Application

  1. If you are on the Web go to twitter.com/download (if you are using your phone to surf the Web, go to m.twitter.com/download) and click on the icon that matches your phone
  2. Enter your email address and wait for an email that will allow you to download, install and configure the application. You will need your Twitter username and password to complete the process.
  3. Once the application is loaded to your phone, click the icon and begin tweeting!

Popular FAQ – Are there other ways to find Twitter applications that will work with my phone? Yes. You can visit an app store to find a wide selection of Twitter apps. Blackberry App World and the iTunes app store are two popular spots.

Yahoo! Embraces the Power of Facebook and Google

Yahoo! Google and FacebookAfter much testing Yahoo! made a bold move last week to allow all users to log into their Yahoo! accounts with their Facebook or Google IDs. According to company executives, this is a move to consolidate usernames and passwords and make it easier for new users to manage their Yahoo! account.

Businesses and organizations can learn three things from Yahoo!’s move –
1. If you cant beat ’em, join ’em. Google has long outpaced Yahoo! in the search business, and with over 500 million users, Facebook is the go-to place on the Web. Making space for the competition will boost Yahoo!’s relevance.

2. Shared login or OpenID authentication is a great idea. If your business or organization require members to log in to access content, this feature is a great way to share content and user activity in a wider network — and if your members are sharing something good, you may even recruit new members.

3. Embracing the competition can keep you in the game. Yahoo! may have lost it’s search engine crown to Google but it still has a popular and successful email product. Associating Yahoo!’s brand with Google and Facebook is also a good way to make users feel they can have all products with just one log-in — yeah for interoperability!

Non-profit fundraising – from email to donation form

Care2 hosted a great Webinar today: The Procrastinator’s Guide to 2010 Year End Fundraising. We’ve remixed four great take-aways for organizations using email to get visitors to give through online donation forms:

1. Get to the point
So, you’ve sent your appeal with a nice “click to donate” button. When your readers click that button they should be taken to the donation form – not to another ‘please donate’ pitch. Your email already made the pitch and the donor is ready to give; inserting another pitch before donation form can be distracting and could lower your conversion rate.

2. Keep your donor focused
Suppress your global navigation if you can. This will help your visitor to focus on why they came to your Website: to make a donation. Continue reading “Non-profit fundraising – from email to donation form”

Email vs. Social Media – Should you follow Ben and Jerry’s?

social media or email marketing... what should you use?Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream recently notified their UK subscribers that they are dropping e-mail marketing and focusing on their social networks instead. US subscribers will still get the monthly edition of ChunkMail, Ben & Jerry’s e-newsletter. With over a million Facebook followers and a growing Twitter following, the company appears confident that social media can fill all of their relationship management needs – at least in the UK. Continue reading “Email vs. Social Media – Should you follow Ben and Jerry’s?”

Best Billboard? Yahoo! Mail Homepage

A few months ago Yahoo! Mail users were greeted with Yahoo!’s latest ad placement. The new ad spot is brilliantly featured as the background for the Yahoo! Mail’s login page where millions of Yahoo! Mail users are bound to see it. The spot is a win-win for advertisers looking to score on impressions. This is perhaps the best online placement I’ve seen that makes good use of idle space – you can’t miss the 1,440px × 1,024px image, and there’s no fast-forwarding past it.

I’m expecting Yahoo!’s bold move to inspire other Web sites to create similar placement opportunities for advertisers. Continue reading “Best Billboard? Yahoo! Mail Homepage”

Three Steps to Better Open Rates

Hot to get better open rates for your emails
Ever wonder why your email open rates are low even though your email list is made up of people who willingly subscribed to receive your emails? Here are three tips to get subscribers to open your emails:

Write better subject lines. Subject lines give people a reason to open emails; keep it short – use no more than 60 characters (and there’s never a reason to put your company name in the subject line if the email is coming from your company). Also, get to the point; the subject line should either be informative or action oriented. Continue reading “Three Steps to Better Open Rates”

Is Your Website Social Media Friendly?

twtrcom_mi

If referrals are important to your business or organization, then visitors to your Website should be able to forward your content to friends in just a few clicks instead of taking time to “copy and paste” your Web links before emailing them to friends.

Online communication today is more than “email”. More and more people are choosing to use social networks as their primary communication platform.

Some of the top Websites are finding that a growing number of their new visitors are coming from social networks where their regular visitors are sharing Web links. For example, news out of TWTRCON (the annual “Twitter for Business” conference) is that social media is the fastest growing source of traffic to the Wall Street Journal Online, wsj.com! Up to 15% of visitors to wsj.com get there through links posted on Facebook, twitter, StumbleUpon or other social media Websites. Continue reading “Is Your Website Social Media Friendly?”

Stop Your Email List from Shrinking

Businesses that depend on email marketing to engage customers will notice two things about their email list every year; 1. Your email list will shrink by at least 15% before the end of the year, 2. Your bounce (email return) rate will be greater than it was the previous year – but does this mean you are losing your subscribers? That depends on your Website.

Customers no longer depend on emails to keep up with the latest news from their favorite marketers – thanks to SPAM (the worst kind), your recipients have grown tired of wading thru emails to decipher which ones they really want to read. Continue reading “Stop Your Email List from Shrinking”