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Best Practices for Blogger Outreach

By | April 15, 2014

Building relationships through blogger outreach is a great way to gain traffic to your site and shares or mentions of your brand online. However, blogger outreach is rarely a “one size fits all” scenario. Follow these best practices to get the most out of your outreach efforts.

Research

Before you type your first word, you need to know who you are reaching. Make sure the bloggers you’re pitching to would actually be interested in what you’re offering. That means, do your research! Tools like Technorati and Alltop make it easy to find the top bloggers relevant to your industry. Just make sure you’re looking deeper. Check out their “About Me” pages and read their previous posts to make sure they would be a good fit. Pitching to a blogger who doesn’t write about anything relevant to your brand or customers probably isn’t worth your time or theirs.

Grab Their Attention

The first thing the blogger sees of you pitch is the subject line… make sure it’s a strong one! Keep it short, simple and to-the-point. Make sure you’re not coming off as spammy if you are offering a free product.

Make it Personal

As I said before, blogger outreach isn’t “one size fits all.” Make sure you tailor your pitch to the specific blogger you are writing to. Mention their blog title, previous posts of theirs and even ask or compliment something about them that you learned in their bio page.

Keep it Clear

The body of your pitch should, like the subject line, be clear, short and concise. Make it very clear what you are asking of them and what you are offering in return. Give them just enough information so they understand your idea. Make sure the blogger knows the next steps you want them to take by including a clear call to action.

Follow-Up

Bloggers (especially popular ones) are flooded with reader emails as well as other pitches. It is quite possible that your pitch may get lost in the crowd. A typical best practice is to follow up 5-10 days after sending the first email, depending on how quick you need their response. It may seem strange, but try adding “final” to the subject line of the follow up email to provide a sense of urgency. It also helps to provide a deadline for when you’d like to hear back about your proposal.

Continue the Relationship

If a blogger agrees to work with you and writes a review (or whatever action you requested) that relationship shouldn’t end once it’s posted! Make sure to follow up and thank the blogger for their time and effort and continue building the relationship. Who knows? You may have another blogger opportunity in the future that they could help with again.

Blogger outreach takes time. You can’t simply send out a template pitch and expect results. However, following these best practices will help you get the most out of your time and effort.

Resources:
http://www.kunocreative.com/blog/bid/82793/7-Blogger-Outreach-Best-Practices-All-Inbound-Marketers-Should-Know
http://mashable.com/2011/10/01/blogger-outreach-tips/
http://www.copypress.com/blog/outreach-how-to-follow-up-with-bloggers/

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LinkedIn Eliminates Products/Services Tabs in Lieu of Showcase Pages

By | March 27, 2014

LinkedIn recently announced that it will discontinue the Products & Services tabs on April 14th in favor of the Showcase pages it released back in November 2013.

Don’t worry, it’s a good thing!

Showcase pages act as an extension of your company, particularly useful if your company has multiple product/service lines, brands or business initiatives. This will enable your company to gear specific messages to followers of your brand to heighten engagement. You can share dedicated content on your Showcase pages, just as you do now with your main Company page. And since followers of your Showcase pages will be interested in that product line or service, you can serve them more targeted content that could help lead to conversions.

In other words, it’s better for LinkedIn members because they can follow the parts of your business they’re truly interested in. It’s better for your business because those who’re following you are really interested.

Things to note:

- You are initially limited to 10 Showcase pages, and only 3 will be highlighted from your main Company page
- Showcase page updates work exactly like Company page updates, so take advantage of the ability to post blog updates, newsletters about your products, etc.
- LinkedIn members can find your Showcase pages through the search tool, as well as from your Company page
- You can optimize the text throughout your Showcase pages for SEO

Visit LinkedIn’s Help Center for additional information on setting up your company’s Showcase pages. http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/44865/kw/showcase%20pages

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5 Tips for Retail Social-Media Success

By | March 20, 2014

You’ve set up your social media profiles, chosen a snazzy profile and cover photo, filled out all the info needed and you’re all set up! Now you just sit back and wait for all the followers, likes and engagement to flock in, right? Not exactly. A successful social strategy involves more than just setting up a profile. Here are five ways to grow your social profiles and increase engagement. 

1. Spend a Little Time

Each day, take 15 or 20 minutes out of your day to check out your social profiles. Follow and like some of your vendors, clients and bloggers and interact, interact, interact. If you are actively commenting on others activity, they are more likely to check out what you’ve been posting. Be sure to respond to comments on your profile, too. It’s always a nice touch when a brand responds to a comment – good or bad.

2. Create your Own Engagement

Use social media to create your own engagement, too. In the example below, Nordstrom asked their followers to help them name a new item. Creating your own engagement can be as simple as asking a question and asking followers to answer it in the comments section. Anything that encourages followers to like a post or comment can be viewed as positive engagement.

Pinterest

3. Offer Something Unique

Your social media channel is the perfect place to reward followers with something they can’t receive elsewhere. Offer them exclusive discounts or deals and encourage them to share with their own networks. Your followers will feel appreciated as loyal customers and if they share the post, you may see increased traffic to your store.

4. Show Followers what’s Available

Take advantage of the ability to post photos on social media and show your customers why they should visit your store. When new merchandise arrives, take the opportunity to post photos to entice customers to visit the store and browse. It’s an easy way to promote merchandise that people may easily miss otherwise.

5. Promote Events and Culture

Do you have a lot of events at your store? Do your employees participate in fun charitable or day to day activities? Highlight them! Make sure you post about upcoming events or specials. Don’t be afraid to show followers the culture of your business, too. Post pictures of the fun employee party you had or let your employees post about their favorite item each week. Don’t be afraid to show what makes you different from the competition.

Do you have any social media tips to add to the list? Share below.

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Get more out of marketing automation by following retail content and sending strategies for email campaigns. Download our 13-pg. PDF:

Automated Retail Email Guide

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10 (+1) Tips to Maximizing Your Trade Show ROI, Part II

By | March 12, 2014

In my previous post about making the most of your tradeshow dollars, I discussed proper components of press releases, using paid search to attract online searchers, writing multiple blog posts, and hosting pre-show breakfasts to showcase industry knowledge. Today you’ll find 10 additional tips – plus a bonus tip – to help you maximize your tradeshow ROI.

#1: Find out who’s attending – If a list of attendees is available prior to the tradeshow, check to see if any members of the press will be in attendance. If a list isn’t available, a quick Google search may show you which media outlets are attending or writing about the show. Distribute your press release to that media list, as well as through PRNewswire, Businesswire, or PRWeb. (See my previous tradeshow post for what to include in your press release.)

#2: Mind the media – Create a press kit for journalists, editors or bloggers attending the tradeshow. Buck the traditional trend of a paper press kit and place everything on a convenient and easy-to-carry USB drive. Be sure to include your (brief) company overview, latest press releases, product data sheets, and company spokesperson contact information.

#3: Coordinate with your marketing team – Most booths will have some sort of tchotchke, from bubble gum and stress balls to branded ink pens and flash drives. Take heed, however: Don’t spend a lot of money on trinkets; your ideal prospects are looking for solutions rather than tchotchkes. If you’re giving away free products, be sure to let everyone know in the Advance Show Guides distributed to attendees to help drive more traffic to your booth. Also, work with your marketing team to determine appropriate presentations, slideshows and/or videos for display at your booth.

#4: Got moving equipment? – If you have a remote-controlled truck zooming around your booth, hopefully you’re at an auto or construction show. Otherwise, make sure that any moving gear at your booth enhances your products or services, not distracts. Moving equipment can be a definite draw to your booth; just make sure it makes sense.

#5: On the subject of video… – Any product demonstrations, customer testimonials, interviews, or visuals about new services offered that you can play on video loop at your tradeshow booth will help enhance your prospect’s experience. It is also likely to draw additional people to your booth.

#6: Have list, must send – If you’ve been collecting email addresses through a lead nurturing campaign, now is the time to share with your customer list that you’re attending the tradeshow or conference. Consider offering a discount to attend the show as an incentive for visiting your booth. Invite current and prospective customers to your booth for a demonstration of your products and services.

#7: To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question – Whether at a tradeshow or conference, many attendees are likely using Twitter to communicate with others and to share with their followers anything of importance. Whether you’re tweeting live from the exhibitor’s floor or inside a session, be sure to use the show’s designated #hashtag so other attendees can keep up with your posts. Twitter can be a great note-keeping tool to help jog your memory when it’s time for a blog post recap of the event. Best of all? If you keep up with chatter from the hashtag, you may find that a prospect is seeking information via Twitter. If you have the answer to that question, you may have found a new customer.

#8: More blogging – In my last blog post, I talked about how vital blogging is. Well, here’s another blog post idea for you: interview other tradeshow attendees, speakers, influencers, etc. This is a great way to show thought leadership on your website to prospective customers and others in your industry.

#9: Snap, snap, snap photos – Break up content on your blog with pictures from the event. Showcase your team greeting people at your booth and photos from within the sessions on your blog and all social feeds. On each of your social media channels, be sure to use the tradeshow or conference hashtag so that those searching will find your photos and other content.

#10: Goals = Great – Keep your staff engaged and focus on specific goals throughout the tradeshow: number of qualified leads, prospects, appointments with existing customers, etc. Send any potential leads to your sales team for follow-up, post-show, along with insightful notes as to why you deemed those worthwhile leads.

#11: Say “thank you” – After all leads are entered into your CRM, be sure to follow with a “thank you” email for stopping by your booth, and to reiterate any information on products/services that are of interest to them.

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Hosting a Google+ Hangout on Air for Your Healthcare Organization

By | March 10, 2014

google-hangouts-feature

More and more health systems, hospitals and physicians are using Google+ Hangouts on Air to replace webinars and news conferences. These public broadcasts are a great way for healthcare organizations to showcase medical research, hold physician roundtable discussions, announce organization news or publicly comment on a timely topic or event. The benefits to Hangouts on Air are they are free, allow you to broadcast to an unlimited audience, and also provide an opportunity for interaction and engagement with viewers.

Once your organization has a couple Hangouts on Air under its belt, they are fairly easy to use and don’t require a significant time investment. However, if this a new healthcare marketing idea and you are just getting started with Hangouts on Air, it can be a little confusing. Follow the four P’s – Plan, Promote, Practice and Prepare – to ensure your Hangout on Air runs smoothly.

1. Plan

While this is an obvious first step, planning the Hangout on Air is crucial to its success. Pick your date and time carefully. You don’t want your Hangout on Air competing with an industry event or Monday morning priorities. Additionally, it is important to set up your Hangout on Air on Google+ properly and give it a professional appearance prior to promoting it. Make sure to include the time, date, description, presenter bios, hashtag and a link back to your website. Create a branded banner and video trailer for your Hangout. And finally, check that your Google+ page and YouTube channel are connected properly, as the Hangout on Air will automatically broadcast to your YouTube channel.

2. Promote

Now that your event is official, promote it! Share event details on your organization’s blog, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and any other social networks. Many organizations make the mistake of only promoting the Hangout on Air on Google+, but they have a much larger, more captive audience on their other social networks. Cross promotion can help ensure your Hangout on Air is well attended. Also, encourage presenters to promote the Hangout on Air on their social networks, and ask employees to add the event link to their email signatures. Promotion should start at least two weeks prior to the Hangout on Air.

3. Practice

Test video and sound on the computers that will be used for the broadcast. Additionally, make sure the light is adequate in the rooms where the presenters will be located. It should be hosted in a private location where the microphone won’t pick up background noise. Ask presenters to wear the same shirt they will be wearing the day of the Hangout on Air. If this is your first Hangout, download the Hangout Toolbox to obtain Lower Thirds, which is the banner that runs on the bottom of the screen to tell your audience who the speaker is. Test the appearance of the Lower Thirds to ensure it shows up the way you want it to the day of the Hangout on Air.

4. Prepare

Have all presenters set up and ready to go at least 30 minutes before your Hangout on Air is scheduled to go live. Check video, audio and Lower Thirds. You don’t want to lose your audience because the Hangout on Air doesn’t start on time due to technical reasons. Click “Start Broadcast” and your Hangout on Air will begin!

Remember to keep an eye on comments in the Comment Tracker and by searching for posts with the event hashtag, so that you can address any questions during the Hangout on Air. Following the broadcast, check your YouTube channel and add an optimized title, description and tags. And finally, remember to keep promoting the Hangout on Air in the following weeks. Some people won’t be able to watch live, but would still be interested in consuming the information at a later date.

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For more illustrations on how patients use social media and search, check out our webinar on The 2014 Digital Patient Journey on Tuesday, March 25th at 2 pm.

Patient Journey Webinar

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