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Grow Customer Engagement This Holiday Season With Free Giveaways

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Offering customers and prospects free giveaways can be a powerful strategy to increase brand visibility, drive engagement and increase sales, especially during the holiday season. Although giving away free products may seem counterintuitive, well-executed giveaways and contests can help you achieve rapid growth.

According to Shopify, giveaways have been widely successful in driving growing traffic to the platform’s blog and social media accounts, while many organizations reported an increase in revenue by employing the same strategy.

We asked 13 entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best ideas for driving customer engagement and increasing sales through the use of free giveaways this holiday season.

1. Let Your Customers Give Back

This year, we will be giving our customers the opportunity to donate a percentage of their purchases to the charity of their choice. This is the gift of giving back that really resonates with our clients.

Jessica Gonzalez, InCharged

2. Make It Specific to Your Audience’s Needs

When running a giveaway, your no. 1 goal should be to build your email list with targeted leads. To accomplish this, your giveaway needs to be a product that only your target customer would use. For example, don’t give away an iPad; everyone in the world wants one. Instead, if your audience consists of, say, online marketers, give away a yearly subscription to a marketing software you love.

Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

3. Retarget With Free Trials

As a service provider, we’ve found retargeting coupled with free trials to be an effective strategy. Retargeting allows us to create promotions relevant to the user’s browsing history. If they show an interest in a particular type of server hosting, we can retarget them with advertising containing promotions related to that product.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

4. Partner With a Publisher

In your category or niche, there are at least a handful of publishers who partner with brands for giveaways. This allows you to leverage the relationship they have with their already large audience to get more active participation so you can ensure thousands of highly qualified consumers will be clamoring to win your giveaway.

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

5. Utilize Social Media Influencers

Giveaways are a great opportunity to directly engage with current and potential customers. We have hosted a few subscription giveaways, and have even gone outside of our current customer base to host a giveaway with an Instagram influencer. In this instance, we were able to engage with potential customers who may have never seen our brand before, and it expanded our own following.

Stefan Lewinger, Sock Fancy

6. Barter for Reviews

We recently launched a new line and wanted to generate reviews on Amazon so potential customers could see what real users were saying. As such, we gave away hundreds of samples with a stipulation: You’re accepting this free giveaway if, in return, you agree to post an honest (good or bad), constructive review on Amazon within a week. This really helped get the ball rolling.

Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

7. Exchange for Email Addresses

Online giveaways are a great opportunity to collect email addresses for highly targeted email marketing campaigns. Ask your visitors a few questions to best target future email marketing campaigns, such as their names and what they are interested in hearing from you in the future. Then, take this information and segment your email lists to deliver only what they want from you.

Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

8. Bundle Offers Together

This is an effective strategy commonly used in smartphone apps and online games. Giving away an amount of store credit big enough to purchase one smaller item, with a bit extra left over, will encourage customers to spend more of their own money to get the most out of the remainder. They’ll end up spending more money than they originally would’ve, but will still feel like they got a good deal.

Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA

9. Offer Branded Merchandise

If you don’t want to give away the farm, branded merchandise is the perfect free giveaway for customers who make a purchase with you this season. This could be a T-shirt, hat or something smaller. People love branded merchandise, and it also boosts your word-of-mouth advertising. The more loyal people are to your brand, the more likely they’ll be to bite.

Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

10. Organize Sweepstakes and Contests

We are offering a holiday giveaway for all new customer sign-ups within the month of December. This allows us to drive sales through our people, on our website and via social. This is a good incentive and great for driving sales during that critical last month of the year.

Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

11. Use a Countdown

Countdowns in e-commerce are great. They create a lot of excitement and buzz around the sale. It can get your customers to know what’s coming up and can be used to leverage sharing and more discount offers.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

12. Reward Social Media Followers

Making it exclusive to a certain part of your audience that is more loyal is a great approach. It creates the idea that only certain people can get it because they have gone the extra step to be loyal. That’s why those that take the time to like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram get holiday giveaway access, hopefully encouraging others to sign up.

John Rampton, Calendar

13. Play on the Excitement of a Good Deal

It’s so easy to run a promotion during the holiday season because most people are out actively looking for a good deal. If you can play on this excitement, your online giveaways can gain a lot of traction. In turn, you can add the new sign-ups to a unique nurturing funnel and create a paid upsell offer for them to take advantage of, turning them into paying customers.

Nathalie Lussier, AmbitionAlly

How to Get the Most Out of Your Holiday Promotions

While the holidays and fourth quarter might seem like the best time to run a contest or giveaway promotion, year-round promotions are happening all the time. Get creative with your ad campaigns and engage with new audiences through social sharing and refer-a-friend promotions. Sometimes the best contests and giveaways are for simple prizes or promotions, that paid ad campaigns could never duplicate!

If you enjoyed this expert round up, be sure to read our previous ones on top recommended entrepreneur books and also 7 low-cost site builders to consider when creating your next site.

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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What You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing in 2019

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With the pervasiveness of the internet, online advertising becomes profitable both for small and large businesses to attract consumers, compared to traditional media in the past five years. Online advertising revenues in the US rose by 22%, to a record of $72.5 billion, surpassing TV ads ($69 billion) in 2016.

An average person is exposed to over 1,700 online ads each month, but only half of them are actually viewed. The use of ad-block applications also rose by 30% in 2016. Consumers today have become immune to ads. They don’t take what brands are telling them at face value and prefer trustworthy sources – a trusted friend, family member, expert or social media influencer.

They rely on these sources before making purchase decisions to seek assurance of a good quality or experience. A research from Nielsen confirmed that recommendations from close peers or family are the most trusted source of information, rather than company websites, consumer reviews, and editorial articles.

This leads to the rise of influencer marketing. Influencers are considered to be credible because of their expertise in a specific subject matter and their ability to engage with their followers. Thus, brands can capitalize on this by using influencers to reach the consumers on social media platforms – where internet users spend most of their time.

In 2017, 71% of internet users are using social media platforms and these figures are expected to grow in the future. Social media has become the channel where influencers connect with consumers.

The most popular platforms for influencer marketing are Instagram and Youtube. According to Goldmedia, sponsored content from both platforms accounted for 34% and 31% of total influencers respectively.

Shifting to Top Tech Influencers

Huawei Mobile, a global provider of smart devices, partnered with a top tech influencer, Judner Aura to introduce the new Mate 10 Pro smartphone by giving an in-depth review of the phone on his Youtube Channel (UrAvgConsumer).

His Youtube channel has the most viewed technology product reviews of all time, with some of his most popular videos generating around 1 million views. The fact that he is extremely well-known for his knowledge of consumer-tech products makes his reviews credible. Thus, influencers like Judner Aura act as a guide that followers turn to before pulling the trigger.

Retail Chains Turn to Fashion Bloggers

H&M utilized Instagram to target young consumers, with its 700 million monthly users ranging from 16-24 years old. A research showed that 85% of Gen Z uses social media platforms to learn about new products and is more receptive to product information on social media.

To promote its H&M Divided Collection, H&M partnered with fashion bloggers, Julie Sarniana and Megan Ellaby on Instagram, resulting in a huge spike in followers just moments after the post was uploaded.

According to 2017 ShareIQ analysis, H&M generated 39 million Instagram engagements from just 486 posts and 20 times higher engagement than its competitors. Since then, H&M has been a strong performer on social media platforms, joining forces with fashion bloggers, style bloggers, models, and other fashionistas.

Joining forces with influencers are effective because it leads to building a brand’s credibility since they specialize in a particular category of content. Take advantage of their recommendations, testimonials, product reviews, and commentaries to attract consumers on social media platforms.

40% of respondents mentioned that they made a purchase after seeing a social media influencers using the product or service. Influencer marketing is a worthwhile investment and if you plan to increase your budget for influencer marketing for your business, make sure to check out the infographic below.

Courtesy of: Milkwhale
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A Fool-Proof Formula to Creating Original Content for Social Media

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You are doing a great job of posting on social media every day, and some people appear to be liking your content. So, you’re good to go, right?

Not necessarily.

Research shows that 60% of today’s marketers generate at least a single piece of online content every day, which may include blogs or social media posts. However, not all social media content in particular is equal when it comes to quality.

Social media is an essential part of any digital marketing campaign. Here are a few fool-proof tips for creating sharable original content on social media from one day to the next.

Let’s jump in!

Tell Stories to Generate Original Content on Social Media

Anybody can find commonly used inspirational quotes in his or her industry and post them on their own social media pages. That’s easy.

However, not all people can effectively share firsthand accounts of events in their respective industries that taught them something and perhaps even changed their lives.

If you’d like to produce content around topics that are heavily saturated on social media, it’s paramount that you do something totally unique by telling stories.

If you provide your own input and give your post an original flavor readers can’t find elsewhere on social media, you’ve got winning original content.

Constantly Gather New Ideas

A challenge that many brands face is that they are closed in how they approach to social media marketing.

For instance, perhaps you look at the creation of social media content as a task that takes place within a certain time slot. Outside of this allotted time, you don’t give attention to your content. With time sensitivity aways being of concern, a great way to take advantage of social media and being in the moment, it to focus on Instagram hashtags. With hundreds of millions of users on the platform at any given time, this is a great way to reach a ton of users for free, while also ranking in their platform for what’s happening at any given moment.

If you’re serious about creating successful original content, you’ve got to think differently about when you post on social media. Instead, it’s important that you gather ideas 24-7.

For instance, whether you’re going to a movie at night with your significant other or you’re getting the kids ready for school in the morning, your brain should be wired such that you constantly look for fresh ideas for your social media content.

You could even use these ideas as inspiration for the messages you share as part of your short message service, or SMS, marketing strategy. (View here for tips about what and what not do in the area of SMS marketing, based on a real-world example.)

Take the Visual Route

Words are indeed powerful, but pictures are even more memorable and engaging.

So, if you’d like to create content that grabs your readers’ attention on congested social media news feeds, go visual. That means posting stimulating photos with your written content or even posting video to engage with your target audience on a personal level.

How We Can Help

In addition to highlighting about how to create original content for social media, we offer a wide range of tips and resources on creating effective blogs that generate results.

We understand that online marketing as a whole is quite competitive. In fact, you could say that trying to get your voice to stand out online is a lot like trying to scream louder than everyone else in a crowd of 10,000 people.

Yes, it’s hard, but it’s not impossible with the right tools.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how you can generate online marketing content that people actually want to read, and that will motivate them to purchase your offerings time and time again.

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7 Quick Tips on How to Keep Your Instagram Page Interesting

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5 Instagram Marketing Tips to Increase Your Blog Traffic

Overwhelmed with a lot of great Instagram profiles popping up like daisies? I don’t blame you. With Instagram becoming a saturated space, about a billion active users, it’s tough competition to get your followers to stay interested. You can’t afford to be complacent even when you’re confident you have a great following.

The preferences and priorities of your followers change as they go through these fast-paced times influenced by mass media and technology. Keeping them happy and engaged increases the probability that they are here to stay.

Cool Visuals

Instagram is designed to showcase eye-pleasing photos. So use this to your advantage — high-quality, energized and dramatic images are a way to catch your audience’s attention. Use photo editing software or apps that offer a variety of creative filters. Caption photos that tell a curious story and stir positive reactions. Excitement. Nostalgia. Tapping into your audience through emotions builds a connection.

Content Curation

Sometimes things can get boring when you run out of ideas to create, that you just make do with a lazy topic. Try to breathe new life into reliable old posts or topics that may be relevant to your audience or the brand you are promoting. The content should offer something unique or add value to your followers. Every post should give to your audience a take-away to think about or something of use. They will learn to rely on your every post since they can relate to it relative to their everyday lives.

Social Sharing

Effective content curation is a way that can get you to network online, as you are sharing relevant sourced content that you are using to increase your brand’s visibility. This means a higher chance of getting your brand out there, which equates to more potential likes and followers. If you want to increase visibility, buying Instagram likes can help you get ahead. The more likes you get, the more traffic you get. A win-win situation if you ask me!

Play with Trends

Admit it, it’s fun to join in on the latest hype or even crazy meme to make things lighter and more entertaining. Novel ideas spark interest and build even more ideas and dialogue. We are curious beings and new things, or even old things seen in a new light, are always great conversation starters. The more you get your audience interested, the more they will understand that your brand is keen on providing current and fresh concepts.

Following the Big Name Brands

One of the most effective ways to keep your own social media profiles and updates relevant and interesting is to keep an eye on the big players in your industry. It doesn’t matter if you are an e-commerce company, selling ads online, or even just posting pictures of the latest fashion — it’s important to know what your competition is posting, so you can not only get inspired by their promotions — but also get determined to do it even better! Follow the big name brands and most followed Instagrammers in your niche space to see what others are liking and sharing the most.

Engage in Debates

You can’t please everybody. There’s bound to be that one commenter who will think otherwise. It’s a great opportunity for you to get involved and comment back. It sends a message that you are in touch with your followers and not a snob. Just remember to keep the vibe positive and conversation healthy. Keep it classy!

Listen to Your Followers

So, you’ve established your brand and the kind of content you wish to sustain and build. There may be times when you’re so focused on getting your brand noticed, you’re set to base everything on your decisions. You forget your audience has a voice too. Don’t become one-sided. Feature them in your posts. Give back. Take the time to know and understand the needs or preferences of your audience but still keep true to your brand. Be receptive. Be flexible.

It’s a challenging feat to take on. But if your passion is blogging and getting satisfaction from seeing your followers happy, then keeping them interested will come naturally to you.

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