EntreCard exploded onto the blogging scene at the end of year and gained a huge presence on thousands of blogs. The site was marketed very strongly at some blog conferences and many popular bloggers added the Entrecard widget to their blogs and encouraged other bloggers do so as well.
I tried Entrecard myself for a few months but the longer I used it the more I realised how flawed and ineffective it is. Recently I have given some feedback to bloggers on their design and the first thing I always say to them is ‘Lose the Entrecard widget’. There are still thousands of bloggers using Entrecard so I thought it was about time I explained why bloggers are wasting their time with this service.
5 Reasons why you shouldn’t use Entrecard
Too many spammers
The community has a lot of spammers on it. Since joining up I’ve received a few dozen messages asking if I was interested in clicking on someones card on a regular basis if they did the same. I don’t think there’s any need for a message system in a site like this as it encourages a certain element to abuse it.
Credit system is seriously flawed
I spoke about this in April in my post EntreCard is going downhill. Put bluntly, the credit system is seriously flawed and incredibly easy for people to manipulate. They give credits for dropping business cards on other blogs which means that bloggers with time on their hands can drop hundreds of business cards a day. Card drops also account for the advertising price of a blog which means that many blogs are overpriced by a huge amount. When I stopped using the Entrecard widget it cost 16 times more credits to advertise on blogs which had less than 10% of the subscribers and traffic BloggingTips has.
What this means is that people who don’t spend hours dropping cards will get a very poor return as the value of the credits they earn will be worthless because the credits they accumulate by placing the widget on their blog will not be enough to advertise their blog anywhere else. So to be able to compete with other blogs you might have to be accept that you have to drop a lot of cards. Are you willing to spend countless hours dropping cards or would you prefer to actually write some posts on your blog?
Traffic is not always targeted
If most of your blogs traffic comes from search engines or from links and referrals on other sites then the majority of your traffic will be targeted ie. the people who visit your site are actually interested in your blogs main subject. Targeted traffic is an important aspect which I hope all of you understand. Untargeted traffic is basically internet users who have no real interest in your website. For example, if your blog focuses on affordable sports cars, would you spend a few hundred dollars advertising on a blog about pregnancy?? Of course you wouldn’t, as you would get little return for your money.
When you place an Entrecard widget on your blog you are sending away traffic which was targeted although the traffic which is returned may not be (think about it, how many of your daily readers do you actually think comes from Entrecard?). One big reason for this is the difficullty in actually buying an ad spot on a good blog. It seems that any decent blog has it’s ad spot queued for weeks.
Adds clutter to your blogs design
The Entrecard widget is a classic example of Blog clutter ie. something which clutters up your design but offers no real value to readers.
Entrecard was marketed as a business card tool which bloggers could use to promote their blogs but when you strip it down it is essentially a hyped up glorified banner exchange. And like any good banner exchange, those who display banners only get credit for a certain percentage of the impressions they display. With Entrecard you get 50% of the credits it costs other people to advertise on your blog.
What does this mean? Well, it means that even if Entrecard managed to stop people abusing their system and the cost of advertising on a blog was priced fairly, you would still only get 50% of a return at most. So if it costs Blog A 100 credits to advertise on Blog B and vice versa, both blogs would have to display the other blogs ad for 2 days in order to display their own banner for 1 day. However, there are so many people abusing this system that I doubt honest users are getting a 25% return.
In my opinion Entrecard is one of the best examples of blog clutter. It’s so easy to copy and paste the code onto your blog and display the widget however you should really think about the benefits you get from doing so. Put simply, Entrecard is a flawed system which is being abused by many people and you will send many more traffic than you will get in return.
10 Strategies to Ensure a Strong ROI on Your Email List in 2019
Even in today’s world of countless digital communication channels, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach current and potential customers. When done correctly, building and maintaining an email list can yield a high return on investment. Do it wrong, though, and you risk alienating subscribers and wasting your time, energy and resources.
So how can you ensure that your email marketing efforts pay off? To find out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
Email lists can be quite a potent tool, but they’re not always worth the investment. What step is crucial for making sure the email list you’re preparing to build will generate a strong return on investment?
Here’s what they advise:
1. Give Subscribers What They Want
Email software programs can be very expensive, especially when you hit 10,000 monthly subscribers. The best way to generate a decent return on investment is by giving subscribers what they want and providing value, whether it’s an exclusive promotion or a great piece of tip-driven content.
2. Build a Funnel
You can get immediate ROI from an email list if you build it with a sales funnel designed to pay for the cost to acquire the email. This funnel walks people through a series of offers that are very valuable to them and allows them to purchase immediately. Then create promotional calendar to give them more value and offers, so they stay on your list and continue to give ROI. – Monica Snyder, Birdsong
3. Use Gated Content
High-quality gated content attracts the right subscribers. You want subscribers who are interested in what you sell, and publishing content valuable to that niche is an excellent way to qualify leads. It can be expensive — good content costs money to create and promote — but you’re far more likely to attract subscribers who convert than with less focused methods of building a list.
4. Use Triggered Emails
To boost the ROI of your email marketing, use triggered emails. Triggered emails are automatically sent to subscribers when they take a certain action. So, if a customer abandons their shopping cart you can send a triggered email right away to convince them to return to buy. Triggered emails will allow you to message subscribers at the perfect time so they’ll be more likely to take action.
5. Hire a Talented Copy Writer
An email list is only valuable if it generates sales either directly or indirectly for your business. The most effective tool for consistently generating sales via email lists is good copy writing and a deep understanding of the psychology of your subscriber base. A good copy writer will be an expert at this and help you to squeeze every dollar out of your list by keeping open rates high.
6. Make It Easy to Sign Up
Have a simple to use, easy to find page where people can sign up for your list on your website. Don’t hide it or make it difficult to find; it should be rather obvious.
7. Segment Your List
Email marketing can generate up to $44 for every $1 spent, which is among the highest ROI you can find in marketing. It’s the one channel where you retain complete control of your brand and core message. So it’s critical that you have a healthy email list, which is organically sourced (no purchased lists!), and segmented so you can send relevant content to specific groups of subscribers.
8. Maintain It
Building an email list is imperative, but it can get out of hand very quickly. Many people have more than one email, which might be hard to keep track of. You want to make sure your email list is updated with the most current email of your leads and customers. Also, be sure to remove any duplicates. This can skew your estimates and reports, which can affect your conversions and business strategy.
9. Keep It Small and Niche
We create small email list of very targeted audience, generally based upon the industry, geolocation and job title. This allows us to target them with very specific messages. These email list works out better than larger lists. We have been doing it for the last four years and we have learned that smaller lists have better ROI than larger ones.
10. Build High-Quality Lead Lists
Having the best email drip campaign will not get you the results you need when the messaging does not resonate with your leads. If the lead lists are also low quality, then that will be an issue. Always build highly targeted lead lists based on your ideal customer profile and have them verified by your sales development rep or outsourced SDR team before sending your emails. Once verified, you won’t waste money.
f you enjoyed this expert round-up article, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world.
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Which is Better in 2019?
Out of all businesses, 83% claim digital marketing works for them. When it comes to traditional marketing vs digital marketing, which is better?
People think traditional marketing works better than online marketing. It’s still easier to determine your ROI (return on investment) with digital marketing.
Here’s what you should know about digital marketing vs traditional marketing:
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing 101
What is traditional marketing?
Traditional marketing uses offline advertising and promotions. This includes television, billboards, telephone calls, and radio. Print ads, direct mail, promotional gifts, and brochures are also popular methods.
Digital marketing happens online. It uses images, videos, and custom content. SEO marketing makes this content easy to find on search engines.
Don’t forget about social media marketing. You control who sees your ads with digital marketing. Digital ads then appear on social media feeds and websites.
Pros of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing connects with consumers. It exposes your product/service to new audiences.
Traditional advertisements make strong brand impressions.
Consumers remember print ads better. The same goes for commercials.
Brochures are easy. Use free flyer templates to make custom flyers.
Cons of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing costs more money. After all, you make advertisements using materials.
There’s no interaction with consumers. You also can’t measure engagement.
It’s hard to determine an ROI with traditional vs digital marketing.
Traditional marketing has limited reach. It’s good for reaching local consumers. Digital ads reach people all over the world.
Measuring engagement is easier online. So is reaching target demographics. You can also connect with consumers easier.
Digital Marketing Madness
Digital marketing is taking the world by storm. You reach more people with digital marketing than with traditional market tactics.
With digital marketing, you’re placing your brand into a consumer’s daily life. The majority of people spend time online. Television viewership and magazine readership are declining.
It’s a better option for a smaller budget. Unlike traditional marketing, you pay as you go along with your campaign. There’s less financial risk involved with digital marketing.
It’s easier to attract, identify, and generate leads on social media. Social media campaign metrics tell you exactly how many people engage with your ads. These metrics tell you which ads are most effective and which ones aren’t.
It’s also easier to customize digital ads for specific demographics. Digital ads usually don’t need physical materials. You only need visual content and quality copy to make effective digital ads.
Online marketing lets you engage with consumers easier. You can respond to tweets and other social media posts. This makes consumers feel a more personal connection with your brand.
Consumers can also give you direct feedback about your service/product/ads online.
Embrace The Digital Marketing Trend
Out of all marketers, only 61% believe their marketing strategy works best. In the battle between traditional marketing vs digital marketing, digital marketing is winning.
Only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. It’s true: traditional marketing also generates leads and conversions. Still, leads and conversions are easier to track with digital marketing.
Boost your business by learning more about social media. Your brand will thank you for it.
The Top 3 Promotional Items Your Business Should Be Using
When it comes to promoting your blog or brand, handing out promotional items is one of the most effective ways to do it. People love free stuff. If you give them something useful for free, they’ll love you, too. This also works well for branding yourself as an expert, or showing off your best content and expertise through your blog.
And each time they use your useful product, they see your brand name. This repetition will leave your brand imprinted in their memory.
While there are many ways to purchase company schwag and bags with your brand name on them, some products will have better success than others. For example, if you’ve ever been to an affiliate or marketing conference, just take a look at the tables that are getting all the attention, and people are flocking to for the free gifts.
Making sure you have a great exhibit it also key. Imagine having one like the Avengers Infinity War showcase below?! This would really wow your audience and leave a lasting impression.
So what are the top promo items to give out at the next trade show? Read on to find out.
Runners Up: Pens and Flash Drives
Before we get to the top 3, promo pens and flash drives deserve honorable mention. Both are cheap and extremely useful. And both can be customized in really cool ways.
Though they’ve been around a long time, flash drives have many benefits that are still relevant today. But as useful and appreciated as flash drives are, their use has declined since the introduction of cloud storage technology.
Promo pens are the most common promotional item. There are many creative ways to distribute them even outside the trade show setting. Entire volumes can be written about using promo pens to market your business.
But let’s face it: no one at the trade show will be excited about pens. And even the coolest pen won’t last longer than a year.
Still, promo pens and flash drives (and flash drive pens!) are a decent cheap option. But they’re not the best.
The following items, however, are sure to wow trade show attendees and get lots of use for a long, long time.
1. Mobile Device Chargers With Power Banks
Device chargers are super useful items that your attendees will use every day. These will be very much appreciated. BUT, if you’re not careful, handing out chargers can backfire for a couple reasons.
For one, you can buy these for a dollar. That means your attendees may already have 3 of them. For two, your trade show may have 3 other booths handing out chargers.
If you’re handing out chargers alone, be competitive. Make sure they are the high-quality ones and not the super-cheap kind.
Better yet, one-up everyone at the trade show by handing out fully-charged, portable power banks with your chargers. These babies make your promo chargers immediately useful.
Anyone at the trade show with a dead phone battery can connect to one of your power banks on the spot and get a few more hours of use.
These will be very appreciated. And it’s doubtful anyone has “too many” power banks.
2. Reusable Water Bottles
Why not be super helpful and environmentally-friendly? Thirsty trade show attendees need to stay hydrated. With reusable water bottles, you’re filling a need and reducing plastic waste.
It will do well for your conscience and your image to do good to the environment. And you can set up refill stations so people keep coming back to your booth. Besides, these are a really great item to hand out anywhere, not just at trade shows.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve never turned down a free shirt. Even if it’s not your favorite, you can still use it as pajamas, workout clothes, even drying your car after a wash.
Plus, we apparently don’t throw them out. A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute found that T-shirts are the most-owned promotional item in the U.S.
But if you really want to steal the show, be awesome. That is, get creative and funny and pump out a variety of fun, branded shirts people will actually enjoy.
You can even set up a laptop with a camera and a printer to make personalized photo shirts. You can also allow attendees to use photos from their phone.
These fun shirts will cost the same as the lame ones you were planning to make, anyway. And, as we said, they will be used regardless.
Steal the Trade Show With These Promotional Items
Do you want to waste time and money pushing unpopular promo items nobody wants? Or do you want to show up with the best promotional items at the trade show and wow attendees and competitors alike? The choice is yours, but we really suggest you choose the latter.
Use these top promo products at your next trade show for the win!
Now check out 11 Brand Building Basics For Entrepreneurs.
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