February 6, 2017 - No Comments!

5 Stupid Easy Ways to Real Estate Marketing

Now that you’ve gotten your real estate license, it’s time to get down to business! You go get your headshot at $75 a pop, get your tech savvy friend to design a website and good to go right? So, why are you getting any leads?

Chances are, when you received your license, so did a dozen of others in your class. Multiply that by a couple classes per semester and bam--hundreds of realtors are churned out every year.

Now don’t quote me on these alternative facts but I think you get the gist of it: the real estate market is highly competitive and it is crucial to be able to stand out.

Sure, you have your website and your Facebook page but how do you take it one step further? Try these tips to optimize your real estate marketing so you can stay on top of the competition.

1. Be your own brand.

The key to real estate marketing is building your own brand. Assuming you already have an “About Me” section on your webpage, make sure it’s tailored so that visitors are able to get a strong sense of your personality and qualifications. Your audience should be able to go through your site and feel like they just went on a good first date with you.

If you have the budget, get some of your own swag. Studies show that recipients of promotional products have a more positive perception of the business and a higher likelihood of recommending the business. Once you have determined that this is feasible for your business, get your photo, name and contact info printed on useful items such as notepads, pens, calendars, umbrellas, etc.

These promotional products should add value to the client’s life in some way--don’t give out random useless stuff like magnets (sorry, but magnets suck).  Alternatively, you may choose not to use your photo if you feel that if may create a negative experience for potential clients. Just kidding. Having a photo printed is great because it enhances top of mind awareness and helps people put a face to the name. Maybe you could even try out phone cases like Kim:

 

2. Optimize your webpage

You know what grinds my gears? Webpages that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. It just absolutely kills me when the page loads and it’s the desktop version of the site, meaning I have to zoom in and out to read the content and half the time it doesn’t even load properly.

Hopefully your tech savvy friend already did this for you when developing your website, but you can easily find out by going to your site using a mobile device. If you realize that it’s NOT optimized, there are a few options:

  • Switch to a responsive template/theme for your website (consult your other tech savvy friend, Google)
  • Optimize it yourself (difficulty level: 9000+ if you’re not a developer)
  • Hire someone to optimize it (I hear Indexsy is really good for this)

Once your webpage is ready to be viewed on any platform, add enhancements to make it stand out from others.

Start with an interesting video on the homepage. Time-lapse videos are always cool (at least to me any way) and relatively easy to make. You can try using the Hyperlapse available for iOS or other time-lapse video making software for Androids. Alternatively, put in virtual tours of your top listings. The bottom line is, I’ve seen some pretty vomit-inducing sites so make sure yours isn’t one of them.

3. Make the most out of your social media

I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that you have already set up some social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc. You already know the basics: post regularly, make sure your posts are relevant, interact with your followers, blah blah blah. However, try to make the most out of social media by going above and beyond, such as through Facebook Ads.

Even though it may seem intimidating, advertising on Facebook is actually pretty easy. Facebook has a great guide for beginners, which is actually all I used to get started. For me, the hardest part was defining my target audience. Try different demographic sets until find the one that gives you the highest conversion rate.

For example, females aged 18-30, living in North America, interested in products like Starbucks and UGG boots, enjoys movies like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. You can set a budget so that you’re not spending beyond your means and track the performance of your ad in real-time. Go ahead and give it a try! Start off with a $10 budget to test out the waters.

While I won’t get into what makes an effective Facebook Ad, take a look at this great one from Google as an example:

A simple image, an eye-catching color palette, concise copy, a clear CTA, and they even threw in a financial incentive--sign me up for a Google Cloud Platform!

4. Nurture your clients

Think of your clients like plants--water them regularly, but too much and the plant will die, too little and it will wilt. Keep in touch with your clients by sending follow up emails after a showing, check out Contactually, a real estate CRM. Especially if they didn’t seem particularly interested--send them some other listings of homes that you think may interest them. I’ve read online that you should follow up daily--however, use your discretion. The last thing you want to do is scare a potential client away because you sounded like a clingy boyfriend with an anarchy bomber.

Set up your landing page of your website so that visitors can subscribe to your newsletters. A lot of retailers do this offering a discount to subscribers--you can do something similar by offering a free eBook, homebuyer’s guide, etc. These emails are very valuable as you can then send monthly newsletters to keep your clients connected. MailChimp is my favourite email marketing platform because it’s so easy to use AND it’s free.

For clients that you’ve closed the deal with, it’s a no-brainer to send a thoughtful gift after the sale. Follow-up with these buyers a month and a year after the purchase to maintain long-lasting relationships and even get referrals.

Since real estate marketing also relies heavily on word of mouth, try to implement a referral system with your clients. Chances are, if the client had a positive experience with you, like are likely to recommend you to someone else in their network.

5. Keep your friends close.. And your enemies even closer..

Enemies probably isn’t the right word to refer to your competition (at least for most people), but it goes without saying that the closer you monitor your competition, the more you can learn from them. There are a variety of tools you can use to check up on your competition online, such as Alexa (paid), and Quick Sprout (free). Compare how your sites perform in terms of SEO and SEM strategies and their social media presence.

It doesn’t have to be all online--realtors will advertise using different mediums as well: ads at the bus stop, on the radio, etc. Take a look at this gem:


If you are able to implement these 5 tips into your real estate marketing strategy, you will be seeing leads in no time. Once you have the basics, it’ll be easy to add in more advanced and innovative strategies to grow your clientele. Until then, trial and error baby, trial and error.

January 6, 2017 - 3 comments

Practical App Store Optimization (ASO) Tips in 2017

Why is App Store Optimization (ASO) Important in 2017?

It seems that every app developer nowadays recognizes the importance of organic downloads and having their app in the top ranks of their respective categories. However, in order reach these top ranks, there needs be a large volume of installs in a short period of time – which often means purchasing them through advertising networks or other shadier sources.

With average Cost Per Install (CPI) and average downloads needed to break into the top charts increasing on a yearly basis, it is becoming more and more difficult for smaller app developers to challenge the million dollar advertising budgets of the top dogs.

 

So that begs the question:

How can you get your app noticed if you don’t have the budget to purchase the required amount of installs to propel your app into the top lists?

This is where app store optimization (ASO) comes into play. By strategically optimizing certain aspects of your app such as its description, name, screenshots and so on, you have a low-cost method of increasing app exposure, accelerating app downloads, and ultimately, driving revenue.

In this post, I will give some practical tips on app store optimization (ASO) in 2017:

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Keywords

This is the most important aspect of app store optimization. Know the difference between search queries and keywords. Start with brainstorming relevant search queries and picking keywords that are not competitive to rank for.

Start with Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to get a general feel for the keywords you picked. Later, use more detailed tools such as MobileAction and SensorTower (both are free). These tools will let you do some basic research on possible keywords, but more importantly, they will let you input your app URL to suggest relevant keywords, track your keywords, and conduct competitor analysis.

The goal here is to find keywords that have high search volume but low competition.

Since Apple only gives you 100 characters to list all your keywords, here are some quick tips to help you make the most of it:

  • Use commas (,) instead of spaces (_) and don’t use both, you are wasting characters!
  • Don’t repeat keywords
  • Use numbers (9) instead of words (Nine)
  • Try to use shorter keywords so you can get more key phrase combos
  • Don’t stress too much on pural/singular forms unless you have extra characters
  • Cut connectors (the, and, of…)
  • Fill all 100 characters, try using misspellings or numbers to fill out any extra space

App Name

Keywords and key phrases in the name of the app have the biggest weight on search rankings, with the keywords provided in the “Keywords” section coming in a close second (This gap has decreased in recent updates). Your name should be descriptive and include relevant keywords and/or key phrases you are trying to target. Do not repeat keywords you’ve added to the “Keywords” section in the name. A focus should be put on the first 25 characters, as it is what is shown when scrolling through the search results.

Important note: Avoid using special characters (you might not get indexed on Google) and avoid using key phrases that match an already taken app name if possible (Apple may manually flag you for duplication).

Category & Publisher Name

Publisher names are searchable for all apps. This means that someone can search up your app through combinations of your publisher name and app name. However, basing publisher name entirely on a keyword may not be the best idea. Category names such as “free” for free apps and “games” for games apps are already a keyword, so again, avoid repeating.

In App Purchases (IAP) Display Name

While you should still name IAP after key phrases, only exact matches will show your app on search results since recent updates. So less of a focus should be put on this.

Localize

You should localize your app for the different geographical locations. This is useful for keyword ranking as well as general user experience. Localize all things such as the name, description, keywords, and so on.

Localize, App Store Optimization (ASO) 2015

*Note: Keywords from the US store are searchable worldwide and keywords from the Spanish store are searchable in the US store

Visuals

Visuals are extremely important to portray to the users of the quality of your app and giving them an idea of what your app does without having to read anything.

Icons

The icon needs to stand out to the user when scrolling through the search results. Avoid using words. Make it consistent with the app design and consider using borders.

icon, App Store Optimization (ASO) 2015

Screenshots

While you should use all available screenshots, the first 2 screenshots are the most important as they are seen in the search results. Treat these as advertisements, and use informative screenshots that describe what your app does.

screen shot, App Store Optimization (ASO) 2015

Convince

Now that you’ve caught the users attention by appearing at a higher ranking on search results, you need to convince him or her to actually download your app.

Ratings & Reviews

While it is uncertain whether ratings have a direct effect on search rankings, having higher ratings and better reviews is a method of social selling and having more than 4 stars puts you in a better position to reach the top ranks of your category. You should ask friends, family, and your social network to rate. Also, ask your users to review and rate your app when they are most engaged - this is a useful tool to so.

Review, App Store Optimization (ASO) 2015

Listen to ratings and reviews! They give the best source of feedback for future improvements on your app.

Description

The description of your app does not register in the search, but it is a good way for you to sell your app to the viewer. Treat it the same as writing SEO articles.

Focus on the first 3 lines, as it is usually what the user pays attention to. Also, try to include any press reviews and keep the “What’s New” section filled after each update.

*Note: Updating frequently does not put your app in a higher position on the search rankings

Track & Optimize

By doing everything I have just mentioned, you should have put your app in a much better position to be organically discovered by users through searches. However, your app store optimization is not done.

As the name app store optimization (ASO) suggests, you must now optimize. Do some A/B testing for visuals. Keep track of your ranking for different keywords; see which ones work and which ones don’t. Consider dropping poor performing keywords and adding new ones. Keep up with competitor research and last but not least, make sure you have not included blacklisted keywords. While this may be a tiring process, it is good to know that you are not wasting any precious characters for keywords.

 

If there is anything I missed, please feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 

December 16, 2016 - No Comments!

Our Xmas Ugly List: Vancouver’s Top 5 Ugliest Sites

Have you ever come across a website that was so ugly, you just had to cringe?

Well, before researching this article, I hadn’t. Because chances are, if your website is butt-ugly, I probably won’t be wasting my time on it.

But, it’s the holidays and heyat Indexsy, we like to give. So we’re going to throw in a free website redesign for any of the companies that are featured on our “ugly” list this year.

And by ugly, I don’t mean ugly-Christmas-sweater-that’s-so-ugly-it’s-cute ugly. I mean hey-your-website-is-so-awful-it-deters-customers ugly.

You’ll see what I mean. I mean, for Pete's sake, use a website builder, or hire a developer will ya?

 

vancouver's top 5 ugliest sites

 

 

  1. 3WGroup

3wgroup

 

Let’s start off the list with what may be the most boring thing you will see today.

First of all, those stock photos look like they were from the 90’s, when computers were the size of small cars.

Second, the landing page is seriously lacking in engaging content. Or any content, to be honest.

There’s no clear call-to-action, no value proposition, literally nothing that makes the audience want to purchase their services. 

In fact, with the current design (or lackthereof), I’d be surprised if anyone were to even stay on the page for longer than 3 seconds.

 

 

  1. NazI Jew Creative Anarchy

NJCA

 

Now, even though I’m considered Millennial, which means we get offended by anything and everything, I consider myself pretty laidback. I mean, I love dank memes and I wrote a whole blog post featuring my favourite meme: Pepe.

However, I was slightly disturbed by this site.

At first, I thought I had accidentally landed on the homepage of some anarchist cult, due to the company’s rather creative name.

Then I realized, OK, it’s design company that’s trying a little too hard to stand out.

The sci-fi theme is cool and all, but the design of the website itself is a little distracting.

I’m no grammar-Nazi (pun intended), but when there’s a glaring grammatical error in the headline, I’m not sure if I can take anything else seriously:

breathes

Kind of reminds me of this awesome tattoo:

ff9d2f56bc6ec3781f524eeb17cccf78

We all make mistakes, which is why proofreading is pretty important, especially when it comes to your website’s headline.

As well, the arrows below suggest that the audience should read the content in one direction, but it brings you in a full circle, which forces readers to scroll back up.

NJCAarrow

That’s confusing-should you scroll back down to continue browsing? Or is that the extent of what the company wants you to read?

Although the website definitely stands out, it didn’t blow my mind.

Which means it looks like their art director may have to cut off his genitals, as promised:

NJCAcut

 

 

  1. Echelon Media Group

EMG

 

Just when I thought I could go about and life the live I love, another ugly website catches my attention.

Similar to our first offender, this site has no clear CTA, and no real value proposition.

For one thing, their video player is outdated and hard to navigate. The navigation bar also disappears when you click on a video sample:

EMGplayer

For an company that deals with media content, their website is seriously lacking interactive media that’s engaging and appealing.

P.S. Do people still watch DVDs??

 

 

  1. BSI Biodegradable Solutions

BSI

 

The first thing that struck me was that the landing page looked purely one dimensional.

The links don’t stand out (you can’t tell which text is a link and which is static). It’s not until you hover over specific text that you realize it’s actually a link in disguise.

The background image looks like it was taken with a potato, with the resolution equal to that of a VHS tape.

The image colors and the text also clash, with the white text on bright yellow background, which is distracting and causes the audience to skip to more readable text.

Again, no CTA, unless they really just want us to follow them on Twitter.

Overall, I think they have the right idea but just need to work on the site’s aesthetic and design.

 

 

  1. INC Business Lawyers

INC

 

I get it, if you’re looking to incorporate your company, you don’t really care if your lawyer has a fancy-schmancy website. You just want a solid, reputable attorney that you can rely on to do the job.

But that doesn’t mean that law firms can skimp out on their website. Any website that is easy on the eye and simple to navigate will always win over ones that are ugly and overwhelming.

Unfortunately, this site falls into the latter category.

When I first clicked into the site, I paused to wait for the CSS to load.

It never did.

That’s because the site literally has no CSS (or design) elements to it.

The links are the standard “link-coloured”-blue, there are no images (other the ugly ad at the top of the page), and all you see are walls of text.

The font is generic and rather small, there’s an overwhelming amount of information on each page, and let’s be honest-it’s just plain ugly.

Oh and if you take a look at the blog, it’s probably the most unappealing thing ever. The whole purpose of a blog is to engage readers to read the content, which is hard when it looks like this:

INCblog

I mean, do you want to “Read more”?

Not really.

In terms of textual content, this site is off the hook. Just add some images, some interactive, engaging content, maybe use a colour other than blue and black, add a background, change the landing page… basically change the entire website, and we’re good to go.

 

 

And that’s all I have for now, the 5 ugliest local websites that made our Ugly List this year.

Stay tuned.

If you liked this post, or have other ugly sites you want to be featured, comment below or email us.

Or, read my post on the Ultimate Instagram Strategy Guide (yep, it's a mouthful) HERE.

If you’re offended by this post, relax. We’re just offering our opinion and our expertise to help other companies succeed.

At the end of the day, at least your website doesn’t look like this:

ling

 

Happy Holidays!

 

January 23, 2016 - No Comments!

How To Create A Social Media Quiz For Your Marketing Strategy

Every marketer wants to find the secret to increasing the amount of clicks they get to their brand’s website or finding a hack to improve the rate of growing an email list. Quite frankly, there are no secrets and there are no hacks. There are shortcuts, but half the time, these shortcuts might up...short. The next best thing is finding something that has performed consistently over time and generates the same kind of success efficiently.

With content marketing becoming the most important trend in 2015, an emphasis on producing whitepapers, blog articles, videos, and infographs have run rampant, and the marketing scene is completely saturated with boring forms of content.

What if we told you that one of the most underrated pieces of content available to marketers has been floating around social media. You’ve seen them before. Anyone that has some kind of connection to a social media network will have, at some point, taken one of those quirky little quizzes.

They’re simple in nature yes, but when implemented into a marketing strategy, quizzes are capable of entertaining and engaging audiences, increasing social traffic, driving online revenue, and generating leads.

Here at Interact, we’ve helped over 10,000 brands create over 25,000 quizzes, so we have a little bit of experience under our belt. Today we’ll cover a step-by-step guide on how to create your own social media quiz for your marketing strategy. We’ll even go over several ways to distribute your quiz on social media, and how to follow up on any leads you collect via marketing automation.

By the end of this article, even you will be able to create and implement your own social media quiz for your marketing strategy. So what are we waiting for?

Creating Your Lead Generating Quiz

Step 1: Title Creation And Quiz Type Choices

They say that 80% of readers gauge the worth of something by its title; and that’s quite a bit of pressure on you. So we’re here to give you several templates to choose from that have performed consistently with readers.

  • Choosing Your Title Template
    • The "Actually" Title - Did you know that including the word “actually” in your title can change an average question into a challenge? At that point, you’re trying to see how much someone actually knows about something in contrast to what they know in general. It really tests the boundaries of your audiences, and many are willing to rise up to the challenge.
    • The “Which (Blank) Are You?” Title - Have you ever wondered which Disney villain you most likely resemble? This one's a classic. Because of human curiosity, sometimes we’re just dying to know what kind of ice cream flavor we are. They say curiosity killed the cat, but I say curiosity brings in the leads.
    • The “Celebrity Personality” Title - Take the “Which (Blank) Are You?” Title template and put a spin on it by replacing the (Blank) with a celebrity instead and you get this title template. This particular title resonates with more people because of the use of larger names, so if you’re trying to attract a broader audience, this one works just fine.

indexsy1

Once you have the title of your quiz all figured out, it’s time to think of the kind of quiz that you want to make. Quizzes generally fall under two types, which we’ll go over now.

  • Choosing Your Type Of Quiz
    • The Personality Quiz - Because of something called the“self-serving bias,” people generally like to hear good things about themselves. That’s what makes this type of quiz so effective. The personality quiz categorizes people into personality types that tend to compliment who they are based on the answers they gave during the quiz. From a marketing perspective, if you were a brand that places an emphasis on product sales, you could place individuals into categories that offers personalized product recommendations based on their answers. It personalizes the shopping experience and develops a closer connection with your customer base through the help of a quiz.
    • The Knowledge Test - This is your basic right or wrong kind of quiz. You’ll come across the knowledge test frequently on social media, testing audiences on how much they know about a certain subject, then giving results based on accuracy. The knowledge test is a fun way to assess different audiences. As a marketer, you could use the knowledge test to assess employees in the workplace, or you could challenge the knowledge of your audience on how much they know about your brand, its products, or any other trending topic.

indexsy2

Creating The Questions To Your Quiz

After you’re settled on a title and the type of quiz you want to make, it’s time to get into the meat of the quiz. The questions are an important part of the quiz because it’s where you as a brand can establish a one-on-one connection with your audience.

Here are a couple of guidelines to follow when coming up with your questions:

  • Become A Part Of Your Quiz - Literally, be a part of you quiz. Your quiz represents your brand, and you can’t let it do all of the work for you. Treat your questions as if you were talking to someone in person. This creates a more relaxed tone, and it helps the quiz-taker get comfortable with what your brand stands for. This really helps when it comes to encouraging your audience to join your mailing list later on.
  • Add Visual Elements To Your Quiz - When creating your questions, consider using images. Text-only quizzes are fine, but including pictures really adds a little something to the quiz. It gives your audience a higher entertainment value, and it also makes the quiz itself feel more like a trivia game.
  • Simplify The Quiz-Taking Process - People don’t have a lot of time on their hands like they used to, and their attention spans are pretty much on the same wavelength. Try to aim between having 6 to 8 questions on your quiz. This will usually take most people about 2-3 minutes to finish, which is just the right amount of time.

indexsy3

Creating The Lead Capture To Your Quiz

Once all of your questions are set up, it’s time to proceed to the lead capture. This is where we’ll create a form that asks your audience for their contact information in exchange for their results. The purpose of the lead capture form is to collect contact information so that you can grow an email list. Collecting these leads will allow you to reach out to them later via marketing automation.

Here are a few ways to increase the opt-in rate of your lead capture:

  • Promise Value To Your Audience - Although we’re already trading someone’s results for their contact information, it doesn’t hurt to give them an incentive to encourage them even further to make the trade. Incentivize your lead capture by throwing in offers like a weekly newsletter, an entry to a free giveaway, or maybe even an ebook.
  • Only Request The Information You Need - Sometimes it is possible to ask for more than what’s necessary, and that’s not something you want to do. Only ask your audience for the necessary contact information. Anything else that your brand won’t be using shouldn’t be asked for in the first place.
  • Be Honest About Your Marketing Strategy - Not everyone will catch onto the idea that you’ll be getting in touch with them after they opt in, so it’s a good idea to give them a friendly reminder. This not only lets your audience know that you’ll be contacting them soon, but it also prevents them from mistaking your email as spam.

indexsy4

Creating Share-Worthy Results For Your Quiz

After you’ve gotten your lead capture all set up, it’s time to move onto the results. Since the results are what’s often shared on social media, you’re going to want to make sure that they’re worth sharing.

Here are some ways to optimize your results for sharing:

  • Compliment Your Audience - People are more likely to share good things about themselves, so it’s safe to say that positive emotions promote sharing. Compliment your audience with your results, but be truthful about it as well.
  • Use Enthralling Images - Remember how we suggested the use of images in your questions? Well now, the image you choose in your results will play an even larger role since it’ll be what appears on social media when shared. Be sure to pick out images that will grab people’s attention.
  • Include A Call-To-Action - You want to assert your brand as much as possible, so don’t be afraid to include a call-to-action in your results. Lead your audience back to your website, or offer personalized product recommendations to keep them interested.

indexsy5

Distributing Your Quiz On Social Media

Your quiz is finally complete, so what’s next? It’s time to promote it on social media! By now your quiz is definitely ready, so here are several ways to effectively distribute it on social media networks:

Share Your Quiz on Facebook and Twitter

When it comes to sharing your quiz on Facebook and Twitter, here are three things that you should keep in mind to get the most out of representing your quiz:

  • Be sure to use an image that’s meant to grab attention to represent your quiz.
  • Make sure you have a headline for your quiz that will encourage people to take it.
  • Share both the image and the caption with a shortened link to track results.

indexsy6

Consider Using Paid Advertising on Facebook

Paid advertising can really boost your promoting potential on Facebook. If you decide to use paid advertising, the entire process might be a little too long for us to detail here, so here’s a truncated version that breaks it down to the basics:

 

  • Target Audience Selection - When it comes to who you want to target, Facebook’s paid advertising allows you to select a specific target audience based on location, demographics, behaviors and connections. You can further narrow these categories down depending if you want to zero in on a specific audience. Take location for instance. You can break that down even further by country, state/province, city and zip code.
  • Custom Audience Creation - This may sound a little tricky, but it’s actually way more convenient than you might think. Creating a custom audience is based on a list of previous customers that you’ve uploaded to Facebook. A custom audience is then generated from that list for you.

 

Following Up With Marketing Automation

After basking in the spotlight for a bit, your quiz should have garnered some attention by now, and in turn, should have brought in some leads for you. It’s time to follow those leads up with marketing automation. Through this 4-step sequence, you’ll be warming up your leads until it’s time to convert them into paying customers.

 

  • Thank Your Audience - The very first thing that needs to happen as soon as someone opts in from your lead capture is to send out an email saying “Thank you for taking our quiz!” This immediate response will remind your audience that they’ve opted-in, and it’s also a nice way to thank them for participating in your quiz.
  • Encourage Quiz Retakes - After a couple of days go by, send out the second email informing your audience about the other possible results they could have gotten from your quiz. This encourages them to retake it or reshare it. This is the perfect transition from your “thank you” email to sending out different content.
  • Work On Building Trust - After a week has gone by, it’s time to fortify that trust between your brand and its prospective customers. Introduce customer case studies or testimonials to your leads. This allows them to get familiar with your brand and provides further insight for those that might be on the fence about it.
  • Convert Your Leads Into Customers - Once you’ve hit the two week mark, it’s time to convert your leads into paying customers. This mostly relies on you and your sales strategy, but it doesn’t hurt to throw in incentives like a free webinar signup or some coupons/discounts. Do what you have to in order to close the deal.

 

Let’s Wrap Things Up

And that’s it! The idea of using a social media quiz for your marketing strategy may seem like a stretch, but after having gone through the entire quiz creation process, how to distribute your quiz, and how to follow it up with marketing automation, you should be feeling a little more confident about it.

Use this as an opportunity to think outside of the box when it comes to content marketing, and maybe, just maybe, you might stand out as one of the few that’s implemented a strategy so simple, yet incredibly effective.

January 20, 2016 - 4 comments

The Ultimate Instagram Strategy: 0 to 9k Followers in 6 Weeks

Today, I'm going to show you the ultimate Instagram strategy that resulted in:

An increase of over 8000 followers.

Featured on Ask.com and local news.

Over 50 leads and 5 sales.

Boosted traffic by 750%.

Oh, and did I mentioned it all happened in just under 6 weeks?

Let's dive right in then:

 

Instagram Marketing:

A Social Media Strategy That Works

 

iphone

 

  1. Pick a Theme.

follow me to

 

Ideally, you want to post things that interest you, but that doesn't always have to be the case. The most successful accounts on Instagram have an overarching theme to their posts, such as comedy, lifestyle, fashion, etc. People are more likely to search for accounts with themes that relate to their own personal interests and having a theme to your posts will make your account more reliable, leading to more followers! 

Not to mention, when the posts are consistent with your theme or topic, it adds to the aesthetic of your Instagram page and makes it more appealing to potential followers. You can have multiple accounts for multiple themes-I've had about 5-6 different Instagram accounts running at the same time at one point-go big or go home right?

 

 

  1. Create a Profile.

ig profile

 

Believe me, this is the hardest part. In fact, I put off this whole Instagram business for months just because I couldn't come up with a good username. If you are able to land a catchy username with no numbers or symbols, congratulations, you're already halfway there!

Once you have created an account, make sure to add a short but witty bio to your profile with a relevant user photo. You could also add a custom hashtag for your account so that anyone interested can immediately see what you've posted.

 

 

  1. Socialize.

Luckily, this is rarely as painful as socializing with real people in real life. Socializing on Instagram is probably the easiest way to gain followers. Like the photos of your friends (or even randoms on your explore feed) because that's a quick and easy way to gain awareness for your account. Go into the hashtags to find accounts and posts similar to yours and like a whole bunch of posts.

Make sure you follow lots of relevant accounts too. For example, for RSLW, I went to the page Artforthesick since they post similar images and followed them.

This will automatically influence the posts in your Explore feed (due to Instagram's algorithms) and make it easier to find similar accounts to you. And guess what? By mass following the followers of that account, you have already built up a list of users that are interested in the theme (or similar theme) to your account.

 

Finally, find hashtags like #L4L #like4like #follow4follow, etc, and start the reciprocal process. Most users will like and follow your account too. Remember to also comment on other people's posts to get your account noticed.

I'm not going to lie, it's hard to come up with a unique comment every time you want to interact with someone new. For me, I actually just copy and pasted the same two comments when I first started out-no one suspected a thing.

You can even comment with just an Emoji:

emoji

 

 

  1. Sometimes You Have to Cheat (Sort Of).

banksy

 

I mean, sometimes, even your hardest efforts don't seem to bring in enough followers and engagement on your account. If you're feeling lucky, try sliding into the DM's (Instagram lingo for "messaging") of an Instagram "celebrity" by asking for a shoutout. A shoutout is a quick way to gain followers by having another account mention yours in their post. It's not cheating really, it's strategy.

Once you have gained a sizable following on Instagram, you'll find that other users may ask you (or even pay you) for shoutouts too. Some of the most successful accounts on Instagram today only got there by doing shoutouts for others and receiving shoutouts in return.

 

 

  1. How Many Is Too Many?

It's hard to say really. Random posting schedules do not attract as many followers because people want their social media posts to be reliable. They want to be able to find new Instagram posts on a regular basis and not have to look at old information. I mean, no one likes that feeling of scrolling through their Instagram feed and running into old posts. People are constantly searching for new information and fresh content.

Your account is only really as good as how often you post. Aim for 3-5 posts per day. Too many and you risk flooding the feeds of your followers. Too few and your account could easily become insignificant.

You can use apps like Latergramme to schedule and manage your posts:

latergramme

 

 

  1. Prime Time on Social Media?

It depends on your followers' demographic, but the best time to post may be in the morning and in the evening. You can use apps like Iconosquare to find out what the prime posting schedules are according to the times of the day when your account has the most traffic or activity.

For me, I found that most of my followers were active in the morning (between 8 AM and 11 AM) and then in the evening (anywhere from 5 PM to 10 PM). Here's an example:

posting schedule

 

 

  1. All About That #Hashtag Life:

trending

 

There’s a fine line between looking desperate and making sure your posts get the attention of possible followers. We all know that one basic friend who bombs their posts with a paragraph of (often irrelevant) hashtags. A good Instagram strategy is to try and mix it up with a couple of regularly trending tags (try this site) and unique hashtags that might not have as many posts in them.

Be sure to remember that the tags should be on topic. Pictures with unrelated hashtags just look like spam, like this:

hashtag spam

 

 

  1. Spend Time on Your Content:

coffee

 

This one might be obvious, but no one is going to pay attention to the thousandth coffee cup post on their feed. Cultivating a creative and unique spin on even the most tired subject will end up bringing your Instagram account needed attention and follows. The key here is to make sure the posts are relatable, inspirational, funny, or all of the above. I mean, it's not like you'll need the best 360 camera to achieve this.

Good content should be able to stimulate some sort of emotion from the audience. Often, to find this content, you may have to spend a lot of time scrolling through feeds. But don't fret, many successful Instagram accounts with so-called "original content" actually just repost it from sites like Tumblr and Pinterest.

 

 

  1. Interact with your Followers:

followers

 

Once you’ve worked on what you’re posting each day you should respond to comments. People are more likely to keep following someone who they feel they know, even if it's all business for you. If there’s a follower who constantly likes or comments, arranging a mutual shoutout is definitely the way to go. Keep working the angle of personal interaction for attracting and maintaining followers!

 

 

Hopefully some of these tips will help you grow the amount of likes and followers on your Instagram account exponentially. Soon you’ll be busy liking photos, talking with your growing list of followers, and taking more photos for your account. Hell, it might even become a full-time job! Have fun implementing this Instagram strategy!

 

+1

 

December 2, 2015 - No Comments!

6 Email Marketing Strategies That Will Increase Your Clicks

…Sound familiar?

You’re frustrated because your emails seem to be getting through to no one.  Read on to find out how to Get YOUR Emails Read!

1.      Subject Lines Need To Be HEADLINES (yes, in capital letters)

I want to close your eyes right now. Now, imagine that the target of your emails is a young, social-media savvy office worker. She opens her inbox and sees 100 unread emails. Yours is a part of that long list.

Her fingers scroll down to your email. But…what’s this? Her eyes move right past the subject line of your email, and instead, she clicks on the email below yours that reads:

50% SALE – last chance @ Aritzia!!

Oh snap!

Now, don’t fret. It’s not the end of the world.

Let’s take a look at some of the types of things you could use in your emails to improve their click-rate:

  • How to: How to Double Your Revenue with one Little Known Email Marketing Technique
  • Humor: Forget Black Friday – Enjoy Wine Weekend
  • Shocking: How I lost 48 pounds in ONE WEEK
  • Testimonial: “MarketBeat made me $12,384.32 in one trade”
  • Time Sensitive: Tonight’s Deadline (Last Chance!)
  • Warning: Don’t Miss Out!

Symbols, free stuff, CAPITAL LETTERS – all of these help to make your email stand out!

best-email-headlines

  

2.      Your Readers Need to Know YOU

Communication is never one-sided – it is an interactive process involving someone on either side of the line! Just as you should know your audience, it helps to let them know YOU as well.

“Why do they care who I am?” you ask.

Well, would YOU rather read an email with personality or an email that looks like it’s been generated by a bot?

How do you prove you’re not a bot?

For starters, how about changing your email name from [email protected] (best way to PREVENT engagement with your readers, btw) to [email protected]?

bad-email-marketing

In addition, if humor aligns with your brand - USE IT!

Imagine having to go through hundreds of emails a day…what are you more likely to read? An email with a creative title or an email without?

What are you more likely to remember – an email that made you laugh or an email that only “spoke business”?

Depending on your business image, it may be okay to embed totally irrelevant – but hilarious – content in your emails, just to give your clients a laugh! Hey, happy clients are more likely to buy-in, right?

Let me give you an example from Bonobos. If you purchased from their website, you receive a confirmation email that includes a cute cat video. Make your customers happy, and you’ll be happy too!  

Although it had nothing to do with their brand, but you can be sure with little gems like that in their emails, Bonobos readers will be 10x more likely to open emails from them.

3.      Optimize for Mobile

We live in a mobile world where people are always on the go. Increasingly more people are viewing their emails on their cellphones instead of their computers. Those of us who don’t have gigantic Samsung notes, are not going to read your email if we have to keep zooming to see all of it!

Keep in mind that although a pretty layout with lots of columns and images look nifty on a desktop, it’s not so sharp when it’s been resized to a mobile-sized screen.

Instead, consider using responsive templates which will optimize your content for the screen it is displayed on (i.e. wider for desktop, shrunk for cellphones). Learn all about responsive templates here.

Also, they say that images speak louder than words.

…But not if I can only see a corner of it on my phone!

According to a research by Fractl, Buzzstream, and Hubspot, an ideal size for images is between 600-800 pixels. The same principle applies to fonts – the bigger, the better!

4.      Cash Out on Capital Real Estate

A.K.A the preheader text. What’s the preheader text, you ask?

Preheader text refers to the few lines that show up in the email preview:

image03

Most people neglect to capitalize on these few lines. Instead, they waste valuable real estate on lines such as “having trouble viewing this email?” (Doh!)

I know you’re probably starting to sweat, thinking “Shoot, does my preheader text say that?”

Don’t sweat. Find out how to make your preheader text reads exactly what you want it to here.

5. Don’t Trap Your Readers  

Make the unsubscribe button clearly visible and easy to click. Some people think that if they hide the “unsubscribe” button really well, their readers will be forced to read their emails. Nuh-uh.

If readers are disengaged by your content, and are unable to easily unsubscribe…guess what? They’re just going to send you to their “blocked senders” list or worse, report you as spam!

You can make it easy for your readers to unsubscribe, yet still encourage them to stay on your subscription list by giving them the option of selecting which types of email to opt-out from (rather than an all-or-nothing approach).

Remember, your readers will LOVE personalized content!

6.      Give More Than You Take

Do you send out an email with free resources for your readers once in a while? One freebie per two emails selling your services? How about reversing that order?

Try sending your reader two emails that GIVE value for every one that TAKES from them.

  •         Emails that give value: provide free resources, tips, training videos (stuff they can use)
  •         Emails that take from them: asking them to buy something or provide you feedback

You may be protesting “Hey, this isn’t a charity organization!” but doing good is never a bad thing. Maybe your readers will want to buy-in to your products or services simply out of sheer gratitude for all you’ve provided to them!

Do YOU have any other tips for email marketing? Let us know what’s worked for you, and what you’ve struggled with!

 

October 25, 2015 - 2 comments

4 Ways We Screwed Up A Lead (aka I Just Watched My Boss Get Ripped a New One)

Picture this:

Four people, sitting in a boardroom, three pairs of eyes on one person:

 

pepe spectating

 

That person-he’s talking, no, babbling, really, on and on while trying to maintain his composure. 

But look at his hands-they’re gesturing wildly-almost as if grasping for the few remaining traces of control he has before it completely slips from his fingertips.

Beads of perspiration form on his temples, glistening in the afternoon light that lazily makes its way in from the window.

He realizes he has no idea what he’s talking about anymore, but it’s too late-he’s too far gone. Inside, he was all but ready for this:

 

pepe in the outlet

 

Meanwhile, his beautiful, perfectly-poised assistant for the day (me), watches, already brainstorming the title of the blog post that would perfectly capture this moment...

 

 

 

4 Ways We Screwed Up With a Lead

(And What We Learned):

 lost lead

 

1. Preparation was largely overlooked on our part.

And it's not really uncommon. I mean, if you had an exam, and you knew the course content like the back of your hand, would you study?

For us, it was the same idea: we know our service, we know our industry, we researched our lead, we're charismatic, and we're passionate about what we do, what could possibly go wrong?

 

what could go wrong?

 

Well, everything and then some.

See, once a question catches you off-guard, it may often take the entire meeting for you to recover (unless you're naturally amazing at thinking on your feet; in that case, you, sir, are a wizard).

For us, this was when we were asked how much we charge as an hourly rate. Now, with all our past and existing clients, we have always charged a flat or monthly rate.

Call it a rookie mistake, but we hadn't anticipated being asked this right off the bat.

So we sat there, staring back at them, mouths opening and closing as we struggled to form coherent sentences.

 

businessfrog pepe crying

 

Feels pretty bad, man.

What I learned: There is absolutely no such thing as being over-prepared.

Try to get an outsider's view on your business: it helps if you get a friend to take a look at what you do and then throw random questions at you in preparation for the meeting.

Oh, and if you ever get asked something like an hourly rate, it's better to make it up, and contemplate later, than to sit in awkward silence for a full minute and come up with nothing!

 

 

2. We kept emphasizing how busy we were without realizing the impression it gave off.

It started with a simple "We've been pretty busy with projects lately", when asked to introduce ourselves.

Once that seed was planted, Jacky found he couldn't stop using the "B-word", B as in "busy". He then proceeded to ramble for a good ten minutes on just exactly how "busy" we were, and how completely SWAMPED we will be for the next while.

Meanwhile I'm like:

 

 

And yes, this meeting was supposed to be a sales pitch.

It wasn't that we were trying to be cocky, or that we wanted to give off the impression that we had a solid client base, but that we were being brutally honest about the amount of work we were grinding through every day.

Unfortunately, Jacky had been too transparent, and ended up sounding like we didn't want their business. Which of course, is completely the opposite.

 

what has pepe done?

 

What I learned: There are some things better left unsaid.

Now take this with a grain of salt. Transparency is crucial in business but does your potential client really need to know that you were so busy working you couldn't even make it to your date last Saturday night?

 

pepe stank eye

 

Unless you're the Steve Jobs of your industry and can afford to turn away clients, I'd avoid talking about your struggles with time-management.

Your client wants to know (or at least be under the impression) that they will be your first priority while you are working together. Treat them like you would treat your needy girlfriend: with love and respect. Keep any sidechicks on the down-low.

 

 

3. We didn't bring any samples?????????????????we went empty handed??????

 

 

No excuses for this one. Should be a given for any meeting, nevermind a lead!!

 

 

We started to become discouraged.

As soon as we realized things had taken an entirely different direction to what we were expecting, we became extremely flustered.

To be honest, it went south the moment we couldn't come up with a quote for the hourly rate. As such, the potential lead actually began to dominate the meeting as we realized we were no longer in control.

Like I mentioned before, once you slip, you don't stop falling until you hit the bottom.

 

uh oh pepe

 

We weren't able to regain momentum and redirect the topics of discussion to safer waters, topics we had actually prepared for. As such, the rest of the meeting was spent listening to the potential lead other guys give us feedback on how we can improve our approach in the future.

Basically, a good 15-20 minutes of Jacky and I sitting in uncomfortable silence, contemplating our life choices.

 

pepe's reasons to live: 0
What I learned: Don't give up!

Even as you see the situation spiraling out of control, attempt to steer it back to what you're comfortable with.

Have you already pitched your product/service? Talk about it even more. In fact, just keep talking about how useful and beneficial it is until you get yourself in check.

Don't be afraid to ask for feedback after, especially if you're new/a start-up. People love giving feedback, trust me, and feedback can always be used constructively. Just don't take it personally though.

 

 

The bottom line:

We may have bombed this lead but now we know how to approach future leads and clients-especially what NOT to do. In the meantime, we have some work to do.

 

top of the morning pepe

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not by any means an expert on this topic; these are just my two cents. All Pepe images are also not owned by me.

June 15, 2015 - 2 comments

How to Get Into Google News: 5 Quick Steps

Many people in the digital marketing industry overlook press releases, but I'm here to tell you that you're crazy if you aren't including press releases in your marketing strategy.

Enough about that, today I'm here to tell you how to get your content into Google News.

Google News watches more than 4500 news sources in the world. Your inclusion in Google News is not only a great means of getting powerful backlinks, but also a great way to increase brand awareness and viewership. The problem is, many marketing departments have difficulty with this without proper resources and steps.

1. Newsworthy Topic

First thing to remember is that you're not writing a blog post, you're writing a press release. You want something fresh and new that would actually present something of value to your readers.

This factor may seem obvious, but this is where a lot of people screw up. The whole point of a press release is to announce to the public of something newsworthy. You want to get into Google News? Then search what people are writing about in your industry.

Majority of you out there won't have something life-changing, so you'll have to get creative or hire someone(psst. we do this) who can whip up a newsworthy press release on any subject.

If you do it right, even the most boring corporate company would sound fun and appealing.

2. Writing the Content

seo-content

Your press release shouldn't be a huge promotional piece - no proper news outlet would publish an ad. Following the first step you have found something newsworthy and enticing, and now you'll start your writing. If you can't write that well or just don't have the time for it, you can hire freelance writers.

While outsourcing your writing, be sure to notify the writers of your brand guidelines - this includes the tone of your 'brand' as well as style and voice. I personally write the way I speak, I believe that keeps things interesting but to each their own.

I'll tell you right now, if you're outsourcing, be prepare to spend money, professional editors aren't cheap. A $5 article writer on Fiverr will get you nowhere, trust me, I've tried. There is a reason why they will charge as much as they do.

3. Highlight things about your company

A ton of editors skim through hundreds of press releases every day, take advantage of this. Have something that will jump out at the site editor - just because they don't feature you today, doesn't mean they won't another day.

This is why I cannot stress enough about the importance of a proper About and Contact page.

I'll tell you why it's important to highlight exactly what you do and how someone can contact you. My friend in the UK has a local SEO client who would submit a press release every couple months; he always had the budget to hire proper writers who made the client's business sound interesting because the industry is actually pretty boring.

The client actually ended up getting a call from Huffington Post and featured his business in a post. The editor said he found the client through the press releases and while they didn't publish his story that day, kept it on file because it was interesting.

Does this happen often? Hell no, but why not do it right the first time?

4. Make sure your post adheres to Google's standards

Showcase-05

Make sure the content your creating meets their standard, here are some things they pointed out:

  • Authority. Write what you know! The best news sites exhibit clear authority and expertise.
  • Accountability. Users tell us they value news sites with author biographies and clearly accessible contact information, such as email and physical addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Readability. Clearly written articles with correct spelling and grammar make for a much better user experience. Limiting your use of distracting ads and auto-load videos also allows users to more easily focus on your article content.

5. Submitting your press release

Now that you've met all the previous points, you have a damn good press release on your hands. All you have to do is to pay a quality site to distribute it, and Google News is yours. Here are some sites you can use to distribute it(mostly paid):

  • http://onlineprnews.com
  • http://prweb.com
  • http://prnewswire.com
  • http://24-7pressrelease.com
  • http://prlog.com
  • http://prurgent.com
  • http://sbwire.com
  • http://businesswire.com

Most of these work quite well and can get you into some News sites. However with that said, to guarantee an inclusion in Google News requires quite a bit of testing.

Ending Note

I'm going to end this guide with this: focus on quality, find a writer that can truly 'wow' you with their writing and go from there. Pay for the quality and your ROI will be fine.

For more info on creating content worthy of Google News or if you're just too lazy to write, contact us to write for you(we guarantee Google News placement): hello[аt]indexsy.com

 

June 5, 2015 - 4 comments

How to Stop Email Spam(and Profit from Them)

Everyone gets email spam, your contact info is plastered all over the web.

No, I don't usually reply the emails written in terrible English and offering to destroy my SEO with combined Fiverr gigs.

Today I thought, 'fuck this, I'm going to do something about it'.

Here's what I did:

1. Take your average email spam offering SEO and/or web design services

Hi Dear,

I am Vanessa,

Manager Online Marketing

To introduce, we are an ISO 9001:2008 certified Indian Web Design and Development firm and have over 10 years of experience. We have been partnering various digital agencies all over US, UK, Australia and Europe.

As you offer Web Design and Development Services to your clients may I propose an association between the two firms. In these tough times, where it is hard to maintain the top line, we can help boost the bottom-line for you.

We can execute the Web Design or SEO projects on a white label basis for you at a much lower cost than what it might be in house - No compromise on quality!

Our Primary Services includes:

Web Design and Development

SEO

Ecommerce

Web application development

HTML5 Development

Mobile web development

Do let me know if you are interested and we would be happy to connect with you and discuss more in detail about your project requirement.

I look forward to your positive responses mail.

Kinds Regards,

Vanessa Freed

Marketing Manager

Email id: [email protected]

2. Reply with Interest

Talk to them, pretend like you're actually interested in their terrible white label SEO services.

The key is to build some trust here, I doubt you'll have any problems here.

Ask them about what they offer in their packages, types of backlinks, onsite SEO and all that good stuff.

Hi Vanessa,

Do you offer review copies for your SEO services?
Send me your package info.

3. Bonus: Their Package

email-seoI won't go into detail about how terrible every is. Someone once covered that a lot of SEO services can be made by combining 4 or 5 Fiverr services, wrapping it up and selling it for x amount of money.

4. Ask for their Portfolio

It is completely normal to ask for their portfolio for validation. What did they give me?

A list of 10 clients and the keywords their ranking for.

5. Profit

Here comes the most crucial part:

Contact each one of the site owners after some brief analysis and inform them of the terrible SEO issues with their site(they will definitely have some).

Work your relationship building skills here:

email-marketingSo out of the 10 people I contacted, 4 of them replied and I actually closed a deal with one of them.

No need to stop email spam, use it!

So as you can clearly see, this was the easiest way to build a sales funnel. Remember, the next time you see someone from India emailing you, see it as an opportunity!

 

 

 

June 1, 2015 - 4 comments

The Ultimate 7-Minute LinkedIn Marketing Trick

My bootstrapped company Indexsy helps businesses build an online presence.

Like many of us out there, we get visitors who come and sign up for our newsletter, and we have people who just immediately leave our site.

We spend tons of time trying to understand the latter - we are trying to define the users who are not opting in to our free SEO audit.

While doing some research on email marketing and all that good stuff, we uncovered the ultimate LinkedIn marketing tip for you guys.

We discovered everyone has an email list, you just need to access it.

[line]

 

Step 1. Signup/Log In to LinkedIn

I actually put a lot into my LinkedIn profile, and make an effort to constantly update my profile. Back when I was on the hunt for a job, I constantly cold-connected with industry professionals.

What was the result? I have 2137 people who either gives two shits about me OR are potential clients.

Alright, here's the actual trick..

LinkedIn makes it ridiculously easy to export your contacts/connections.

Here's how to navigate to the goods:

Hover over the Connections to prompt the drop-down, and click on Keep in Touch.

Click on the Settings icon(gear icon, top right) and get to a page like this:

LinkedIn Growth Hack

 

And boom, I have a list of over 2000 emails.

[line]

 

Step 2. Get on Mailchimp

Go grab a free account and navigate to the Lists tab and hit Create List. After filling out all the options you can navigate to the list and import subscribers.

mailchimp growth hack

Watch in awe as Mailchimp matches the first and last name as well as the email address for you.

That is all you need, skip the other columns and information.

[line]

 

Step 3. The World is Your Oyster

This LinkedIn marketing tip is so effective it's silly. The actual trick lies in the highly targeted list. If you are active on LinkedIn then your name should be at least familiar to them.

In the digital marketing world, this is as good as it gets, the crème de la crème.

Here is the email template I used to flood my site with hundreds targeted traffic and led to 10 leads:

email marketing

 

There are a million ways to apply this LinkedIn tip.

Need a job? Send out a quick message, I'm certain one of your contacts are more than happy to refer you to the right opportunity.

Raising some money for cancer research? This method would be a couple folds more effective than your average Facebook status.

Trying to find someone worth of your Nigerian money? Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

This has potential for abuse, but I can't teach people how to be a good person.