What do Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates all have in common? Each is an amazing salesperson. They’re able to get in front of others, clearly present their vision and persuade people to buy in.
By necessity, every entrepreneur is in sales.Entrepreneurs must sell their ideas to investors, partners or potential clients. No concept is killer, no business plan is air tight, before you go out and promote it. (more…)
In recent months Facebook released a series of changes to its algorithm, resulting in the reach of page posts dropping as low as 2 percent for large companies from a reported 16 percent two years ago. Organic reach is the number of people who see a Facebook post without any paid promotion or advertising boosting its performance.
What’s the solution? Develop the social marketing strategy you should have had from the beginning: a results-driven effort diversified across multiple social-media platforms and connected to other marketing campaigns.
Color wields enormous sway over our attitudes and emotions. When our eyes take in a color, they communicate with a region of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which in turn sends a cascade of signals to the pituitary gland, on to the endocrine system, and then to the thyroid glands. The thyroid glands signal the release of hormones, which cause fluctuation in mood, emotion, and resulting behavior.
Research from QuickSprout indicates that 90% of all product assessments have to do with color. “Color,” writes Neil Patel, is “85% of the reason you purchased a specific product.” It’s a no-brainer fact of any website that color affects conversions. Big time.
So, the bottom line is: use the right colors, and you win.
What is Color Psychology?
In order to really appreciate the tips below, you’ll benefit from a little information on color psychology.
Color psychology is the science of how color affects human behavior. Color psychology actually is a branch of the broader field of behavioral psychology. Suffice it to say that it’s a pretty complicated field. Some skeptics are even dismissive of the whole field of color psychology, due to the difficulty of testing theories. My own research on the topic, as this article conveys, lacks scientific evidence to back up every claim. But that alone is no reason to dismiss the profound and unarguable effect that color has on people.
There are key facts of color theory that are indisputable. In a peer reviewed journal article,Satyendra Singh determined that it takes a mere 90 seconds for a customer to form an opinion about a product. And, 62-90% of that interaction is determined by the color of the product alone.
Color psychology is a must-study field for leaders, office managers, architects, gardeners, chefs, product designers, packaging designers, store owners, and even expectant parents painting the nursery for the new arrival! Color is critical. Our success depends upon how we use color.
Where Should You Use Color?
Let’s get oriented to our context. Since color is ubiquitous, we need to understand where you should use these color tips. This article discusses the use of color in website design. Specifically, we’re talking about the color scheme of a website, which includes the tint of hero graphics, headline type, borders, backgrounds, buttons, and popups.
In the example below, NinjaJump uses a green-yellow-red color scheme in their logo, phone number, video C2A, menu bar, graphics, category menu, sub headings, and sidebar. The tips that we discuss below can be applied in similar ways — menus, sidebars, color schemes, etc.
Using the Right Color in the Right Way
Color is a tricky thing. You have to use it in the right way, at the right time, with the right audience, and for the right purpose.
Color Tips that Will Improve Your Conversions
1. Women don’t like gray, orange, and brown. They like blue, purple, and green.
The sociological differences between color preferences is a whole branch of study unto itself. Patel got it right when he cited the colors preferred, and disliked, by the two genders.
In a survey on color and gender, 35% of women said blue was their favorite color, followed by purple (23%) and green (14%). 33% of women confessed that orange was their least favorite color, followed by brown (33%) and gray (17%).
Woman’s Day uses all three of the favorite colors of women (blue, purple, and green) on their homepage, thus inviting in their target audience:
Most people think that the universally-loved female color is pink. It’s not. Just a small percentage of women choose pink as their favorite color. Thus, while pink may suggest femininity in color psychology, this doesn’t mean that pink is appealing to all women, or even most women. Use colors other than pink — like blue, purple, and green — and you may improve the appeal of your e-commerce website to female visitors. And that may, in turn, improve conversions.
2. Men don’t like purple, orange, and brown. Men like blue, green, and black.
If you’re marketing to men, these are the colors to stay away from: purple, orange, and brown. Instead, use blue, green, and black. These colors — blue, green, and black — are traditionally associated with maleness. However, it comes as a slight surprise to some that brown isn’t a favorite pick.
3. Use blue in order to cultivate user’s trust.
Blue is one of the most-used colors, with good reason. A lot of people like blue.
Read the literature on blue, and you’ll come across messages like
- The color blue is a color of trust, peace, order, and loyalty. (source)
- Blue is the color of corporate America and it says, “Chill . . . believe and trust me . . . have confidence in what I am saying!” (source)
- Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness and serenity. It often is described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly. (source)
There is wide agreement in the research community on the psychological effects of the color blue. Its subtle message of trustworthiness and serenity is true. You can use this to your advantage on your website and landing pages.
The world’s biggest social network is blue. For a company whose core values are transparency and trust, this probably is not an accident.
4. Yellow is for warnings.
Yellow is a color of warning. Hence, the color yellow is used for warning signs, traffic signals, and wet floor signs.
It seems odd, then, that some color psychologists declare yellow to be the color of happiness.Business Insider reports that “brands use yellow to show that they’re fun and friendly.” There is a chance that yellow can suggest playfulness. However, since yellow stimulates the brain’s excitement center, the playfulness feeling may be simply a state of heightened emotion and response, not exactly sheer joy.
Color psychology is closely tied to memories and experiences. So, if someone had a very pleasant experience with someone wearing a yellow shirt, eating at a fast food establishment with yellow arches, or living in a home with yellow walls, then the yellow color may cause joy by memory association.
One of the most-cited “facts” about the color yellow is that it makes babies cry and people angry. To date, I have not found any study that backs up this claim, even though everyone is fairly comfortable repeating it.
5. Green is ideal for environmental and outdoor products.
Perhaps the most intuitive color connection is green — the color of outdoors, eco-friendly, nature, and the environment. Green essentially is a chromatic symbol for nature itself.
Apart from its fairly obvious outdoorsy suggestiveness, green also is a color that can improve creativity. Labeled “the green effect,” one study indicated that participants had more bursts of creativity when presented with a flash of green color as opposed to any other color.
If the focus of your website has anything to do with nature, environment, organic, or outdoors, green should be your color of choice.
5. Orange is a fun color that can create a sense of haste or impulse.
The positive side of orange is that it can be used as the “fun” color. According to some, orange helps to “stimulate physical activity, competition, and confidence.” This may be why orange is used heavily by sports teams and children’s products.
6. Black adds a sense of luxury and value.
The darker the tone, the more lux it is, says our internal color psychology. An article from Lifescript describes black as “elegance, sophistication, power,” which is exactly what luxury designers and high-end e-commerce sites want you to feel. The article goes on to describe black as the color of “timeless, classic” which helps further explain the use of black in high-value products.
In a Business Insider piece on color and branding, the author relates the significance of black:
“Black can also be seen as a luxurious color. ‘Black, when used correctly can communicate glamour, sophistication, exclusivity.’”
7. Use bright primary colors for your call to action.
In strict testing environments, the highest-converting colors for calls to action are bright primary and secondary colors – red, green, orange, yellow.
Darker colors like black, dark gray, brown, or purple have very low conversion rates. Brighter ones have higher conversion rates.
8. Don’t neglect white.
In most of the color psychology material I read, there is a forgotten feature. Maybe that’s because color theorists can’t agree on whether white is a color or not. I don’t really care whether it is or not. What I do know is that copious use of white space is a powerful design feature. Take, for example, the most popular website in the world. It’s basically all white:
White is often forgotten, because its primary use is as a background color. Most well-designed websites today use plenty of white space in order to create a sense of freedom, spaciousness, and breathability.
The Internet is a colorful place, and there is a lot that can be accomplished by using color in the right way, at the right time, with the right audience, and for the right purpose.
Naturally, this article leads to questions about making changes in your company’s context. What about if your company has a specific color style guide? What if the logo color dictates a certain tint? What if the lead designer dictates color requirements? How do you deal with that?
You may not be in a position to rewrite your style guide and pick your own website color palette or font colors on the email template. So, how can you use color psychology in these situations? There are a few options:
- If the colors really suck, campaign for change. In some situations, you may need to make a difference. If you’re a high-heel designer selling to upscale women, but have a crappy orange logo, share your concerns with the decision-makers. People sometimes make stupid color decisions. Kindly show them why and how a killer color scheme can make a conversion difference.
- Use psychology-appropriate colors that match the existing color scheme. Sure, you need to adapt to the color scheme, but you can still use a splash of strategic color here and there. Let’s say, for sake of example, that you have a blue-themed website. Fine. You can create a popup to harvest email addresses, and use a bright yellow button. The button is psychology-appropriate, and it doesn’t do damage to the company’s color branding.
The more freedom you have in your color scheme, the better. Here are some solid takeaways as you implement color psychology into your website:
- Test several colors. Despite what some may say, there is no right color for a conversion text or button. Try a green, purple, or yellow button. Explore the advantages of a black background scheme vs. a white background. Find out which works best for your audience and with your product.
- Don’t just leave color choice up to your designer. I have enormous respect for most web designers. I’ve worked with many of them. However, don’t let your designer dictate what colors you should use on your website. Color is a conversion issue, not just an “Oh, it looks good” issue. Color aesthetics is not everything. Color conversion effects are important! You should be heavily involved in the color selection of your landing pages in order to improve your conversions.
- Avoid color overload. I’ve just spent over 3,000 words telling you how important and awesome color is. Now, you’re going to go out and color something. But don’t go overboard. Remember my final point. I put it last for a reason. White is a color, and it should be your BFF color, too. Reign in your color enthusiasm with a whole lot of white. Too many colors can create a sense of confusion.
Original post courtesy of entrepreneur.com
6. What types of content should I post on which social platforms?
Certain types of content generally work better on certain social-media platforms, according to Odden. For example, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram are inherently visual, so striking, memorable images of your products, company events and perhaps behind-the-scenes snapshots of employees at work can be effective choices for those particular platforms. But text-only status updates on Facebook without an accompanying link also trend well, especially when asking questions.
On Twitter, aim for a good balance of tweeting about your company and retweeting others’ content, including that of your business partners and industry influencers, according to Odden. LinkedIn is popular for sharing company news, productivity tips and thought leadership articles.
Odden recommends curating a diverse mix of content types (standout photos, short videos, useful links, helpful tips, thoughtful question, etc.) across your social-media platforms to keep things interesting and fresh. When you do, your followers will come back for more.
7. Should I use social media to provide customer service?
Social media is fast becoming the most common way for current and potential customers to interact with businesses. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other platforms to instantly (and publicly, mind you) field and respond to customer questions, order status inquiries, and, yes, even complaints.
8. How can I convert social-media followers into customers?
Porterfield says there aren’t any surefire tricks to earn fans’ and followers’ dollars, though some tactics seem to work better than others. For instance, Facebook ads can be an easy, inexpensive way to grow your fan base, increase engagement and collect sales leads. It’s up to you to convert those sales leads.
Porterfield also suggests implementing a cross-platform contest that integrates several social channels, like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest. Sweepstakes that offer rewards that resonate with your target market can be effective in attracting potential customers. To drive consumers to your online store, for example, you might send a tweet that describes a contest on your Facebook Page with a link to the rules and entry form found within your online store.
9. How can I measure the success of my social-media marketing efforts?
It’s important to continually track your social-media marketing metrics in order to gauge which tactics and types of posts work and which don’t.
Some social platforms offer their own metrics. Facebook, for instance, gives Page administrators access to Page Insights data for free. These tell you how many people are interacting with your posts. You can use the data to better plan future posts and decide on the most effective ways to connect with your fans and followers. LinkedIn provides similar analytics for company pages.
Use Google Analytics to see how effective your social-media campaigns are at driving traffic to your main website or online store. If you see Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or other social platforms you’re active on listed as top referrers to your site, your social-media efforts are not for naught.
10. What is the biggest mistake to avoid?
Ironically, the answer here is not having a social-media plan. So, have one and stick to it. “Social media is constantly changing, so you need to be ready to change and adapt all the time as well,” Porterfield says. Constantly evaluate and refine your social strategy. Doing this on a monthly basis can help you identify which tactics are working and which ones to ditch.
Original post courtesy of entrepreneur.com
Ever heard the saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail?” That old but wise adage often rings true when it comes to social-media marketing. Creating a detailed, goal-oriented social-mediastrategy is just as important as having a rock solid business plan.
To attract and engage social-media fans and followers — and ideally convert them into customers — you’ll need to carefully map out a clear, effective social-media strategy. Here are some questions you should ask when building your company’s social-marketing plan:
1. What should my company aim to achieve with social media?
That depends on the type of business you’re in. You may want to use social media to gain exposure for your brand, to directly interact with your customers or to promote specific products and services.
“The first and most important step in creating your plan is to clearly identify your goals,” says Lee Odden, chief executive of TopRank Online Marketing, a Minnesota-based, digital marketing agency. “Next, understand your customers’ goals, and then figure out how your social-media strategy will connect both.”
Odden suggests that you first define how your social-media outreach marketing will provide value to your customers. Specifically, think about how you can use social media to solve your customers’ problems.
2. Who should set up and maintain my company’s social media accounts?
If you’re a small company with few employees, consider delegating the task to a staff member who has a good track record of implementing effective social-media campaigns. If you have a larger company, a qualified employee in the marketing department might be a good fit for the task. Businesses with larger budgets but not enough experience with social-media marketing could benefit from hiring a social-media marketing consultant or firm, says Odden.
3. Should my company have a presence on all of the popular social-media networks?
As a starting point, Odden advises that small businesses begin with a blog and a presence on just one social network, at least for the first few months. Which network? Find out what by surveying your customers about which platforms they use the most.
The more your company grows — as well as your digital marketing budget — the more social networks you can experiment with.
4. What are the best social networks for small businesses?
Whether your company is large or small, you can’t go wrong with a Twitter account, Odden says. It’s a platform that is easy to learn and use, and you can’t beat the 140-character limit.
Odden also says Google+ is essential to be on, if only to boost your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). If your company is mainly a B2B firm, you’ll want to be on LinkedIn and Slideshare to reach influencers within your industry. For B2C companies, being on Facebook and Pinterest can be smart.
5. How often should I post new content on my social networks?
Porterfield advises posting on all of your social networks two to five times a day. Your followers visit social-media sites at different times of the day. “One post a day simply isn’t enough because most of your fans won’t see it simply due to timing,” she says.
To reach more of your followers more often, stagger your posts consistently throughout the day.
Part 2 (6-10) to come next week.
Original post courtesy of entrepreneur.com
Are your social-media marketing habits attracting people to your brand or scaring them off?
Here’s a short list of notorious social-media mistakes business owners should remember to avoid and why:
1. Only talking about your products and services.
By now, this one should be a no-brainer. Don’t be that guy at the party who only talks about himself. Posting status updates, tweets and pins that narcissistically revolve around your brand only is tantamount to social-media suicide. You’ll quickly come off as too corporate, self-serving and disconnected from your customers and their needs. An exodus of followers is sure to, well, follow.
Small-business expert Steven D. Strauss, author of The Small Business Bible (Wiley, 2012) suggests following the 80-20 rule to establish a meaningful connection with customers via social media. That is to say that 80 percent of the content you post should address your customers’ problems and only 20 percent should be about your company and what you do.
2. Not playing (sharing) well with others.
Instead of tweeting repeated promotional messages about your products and services, make an effort to retweet, share and pin your followers’ content often. Also exchange friendly, conversational tweets with your followers, particularly those who are significant influencers within your industry. Doing so can encourage a sense of community within your social networks, boost your brand exposure and help you earn your followers’ trust.
For example, if you sell children’s toys, consider sharing follower and influencer posts and pins that are of value to parents of young children.
3. Posting insensitive content about sensitive subjects.
One of the fastest ways to get people trash-talking your brand over social media is to post poorly-timed, offensive remarks about sensitive topics, especially those that are political in nature and inspire strong emotions.
Fashion designer Kenneth Cole has been guilty of this more than once. Most recently, the designer and self-described “frustrated activist” published a tweet that made light of the “boots on the ground” comment U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry used in reference to potentially deploying ground troops in Syria. The crass remark instantly ignited a firestorm of angry backlash reply tweets that continue to pile up.
Original post courtesy of entrepreneur.com
Affiliate marketing has become one of the most efficient online advertising systems. It is basically a contract between two parties, a site/blog owner and a commercial partner. The site owners promote the products and services offered by their partners and get a fair amount of affiliate commission when a sale is made through their platform. Hence, the publishers are not paid in advance for their advertising space, but instead they get gratifications for their users’ activity.
The system is also known by the name of performance based marketing since the publisher is compensated only if he convinces the visitor to access the site that appears as linked and take action (they buy something, subscribe to the newsletter or take a survey). (more…)
It’s NBA and NHL Playoff time, resulting in a busy time across engage!365’s three Pro Sports Gear online stores, which celebrate their second anniversary this week.
Since April 2010, Pro Sports Gear stores have gained significant traffic and high Google rankings particularly in Australia, with the United Kingdom and New Zealand not far behind.
These sites show how the practice of affiliate marketing can transform into a viable revenue model with some time and patience.
“We developed the Pro Sports Gear sites first and foremost as a hobby, and to service a need in both the Australian and New Zealand markets”, said Brad Sang, Managing Director of engage!365. “We are passionate about these sports ourselves and were frustrated by the lack of choice in this part of the world. Therefore, we investigated a number of ways to satisfy this need, and affiliate marketing proved to be by far the most logical option”.
Pro Sports Gear online stores boast over 140,000 products from major American sporting leagues such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and NCAA. Most products of which cannot be found in stores outside of North America. The practice of affiliate marketing sees a third-party distributor used to fulfill product orders and provide customer service for Pro Sports Gear customers, a common practice utilised by the likes of Amazon and eBay.
From a marketing perspective, these sites are heavily optimised to ensure that search engines such as Google organically list them based on popular and relevant keywords. Whilst Pro Sports Gear generate the majority of traffic from Google, supporting marketing initiatives through the use of eNewsletters and Social Media also have an important part to play as the Pro Sports Gear community grows.
“Whilst we are happy with the growth of these sites over the past 24 months, we plan to redevelop the Pro Sports Gear sites in order to improve both the visual appeal and interactivity to take these to the next level and satisfy our customers even further” Sang concluded.
Brand extensions are also in the works, with engage!365 soon to launch similar sites based on the same successful model, with a focus on the sports training and pop culture categories respectively.