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…)
The tough reality is, no matter how great your site is, chances are slim that a customer will randomly happen on to your site. So it’s imperative that you use a variety of strategies to get your website noticed by the nearly 2.5 billion people who now surf the web. They make up over one-third of the planet’s population.
Winning visitors becomes a matter of creative, persistent marketing. The good news is that it’s still the little things that will bring plenty of traffic your way. There are fundamental steps that too many businesses neglect. For instance? You should always put your URL and a reason to visit your website on all printed matter, including your business cards. You should also mention what people will get when they visit your site, such as a newsletter or a list of “Top 10 Tips” or some type of content that will pique their interest. That substantially increases visitors, and eventually visitors become customers and/or subscribers. (more…)
Technology has made staying in touch with personal and professional networks easier than ever before, whether it’s using contact-management software like Salesforce or social media channels like LinkedIn or Facebook.
Today, a strong and vibrant online network is as valuable as a Rolodex was to a salesperson in the 1950s. But unlike the clunky rotating card file, these digital networks are easily destroyed. To protect your network (and you really need to) avoid these following common mistakes: (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.
A truly great company logo becomes synonymous with its identity. Think about the McDonald’s golden arches, Apple’s apple, Coca-Cola’s cursive typeface, Nike’s swoosh and all the other iconic brand images that you remember.
But what does a logo say about your company?
For Yahoo, changing its longtime logo (its asymmetrical “Y” with a leaning exclamation point) is a way to signify a new way forward.
This marks the first time in 18 years that Yahoo will overhaul its logo. It’s part of the company’s “30 days of change” marketing campaign, during which it will display one potential logo option on its various sites each day for the next 30 days before the final version is revealed Sept. 5.
“The logo is your calling card, identity, manifestation,” Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt told USA Today. “The Yahoo logo is iconic; some people love it, some people hate it. We decided to change it, to reflect new products … and depict our next chapter.”
Original article courtesy of entrepreneur.com
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
The fact is, many of us spend an egregious amount of time using social media (sharing tweets, commenting on FB posts, etc.). We lose ourselves in our ever updating feeds. The more curious among us even try to quantify the hours and minutes spent on social networking each day. But I’ve often wondered: What is our behavior post-click, when we actually interact with a link one of our friends shared socially?
To answer that question, we looked at the average visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rate for visitors referred to our network of sites from each of the top 8 social media platforms.
Welcome to the first edition of Shareaholic’s ”Social Referrals That Matter” Report.
In this study, we looked at 6 months of data (Sept’13 – Feb’14) across our network of 200,000+ sites reaching more than 250 million unique monthly visitors to get a sense of which social network drives the most engaged visitors.
Here are six noteworthy findings:
1. YouTube is the undisputed champion. YT drives the most engaged traffic. These referrals have the lowest average bounce rate (43.19%), the highest pages per visit (2.99) and the longest visit duration (227.82 seconds). Why are visitors from YouTube so engaged? …because video itself is so engaging and viewers are likely to maintain a similar level of engagement with related content. Therefore, video watchers are especially receptive to links within video descriptions which complement the audio+visual content they just consumed. Another reason YouTube takes home the crown is because viewers are simply used to spending minutes — perhaps, hours — educating and entertaining themselves with awesome video and may have fewer qualms about taking extra time to discover more great content post-click.
2. Although Google+ and LinkedIn drive the fewest social referrals, they bring in some of the best visitors. Google+ users, on average, find themselves spending north of 3 minutes diving into things shared by connections in their circles. They also visit 2.45 pages during each visit, and bounce only 50.63% of the time. LinkedIn users generally spend 2 minutes and 13 seconds on each link they click, viewing 2.23 pages with each visit and bouncing 51.28% of the time. Although many sites see minimal traffic from both Google+ and LinkedIn, now may be the time to invest in building communities within those networks if engagement really matters to your business.
3. A referral from Twitter is as good as a referral from Facebook — at least, in terms of bounce rate, pages per visit and time on site. Tied in 4th place are Twitter and Facebook. Both types of visitors bounce the same (56.35% of the time), while Twitter wins the pages per visit category (2.15 vs 2.03) and Facebook users tend to spend more time on a site post-click than Twitter users do (127.44 seconds vs. 123.10).
4. Pinterest isn’t exactly the social media golden child we all play it up to be.Coming in 6th, Pinners bounce as often as FB users and Tweeps do, but view fewer pages per visit (1.71) and spend considerably less time on site (64.67 seconds) than almost all of its counterparts, with the exception of StumbleUpon.
5.Reddit users are the most fickle. Redditors are the most likely to abandon sites — on average, 70.16% bounce. For marketers, Reddit is a tough nut to crack. Its uber-loyal users are increasingly selective about the content that gets upvoted and are eager to downvote things they disagree with. Effectively, Reddit hates marketing. In the past, I’ve even encouraged site owners to quit Reddit. Naturally, I applaud (and envy) brands and businesses that do it right. An excellent example that comes to mind is Newegg’s involvement on /r/buildapc (h/tAGeezus).
6. StumbleUpon drives the least engaged referrals. Post-click, users view a meager 1.5 pages per visit and spend 54.09 seconds on site. It would appear that StumbleUpon’s click-heavy — to “stumble,” “like” or “dislike” — focus makes users trigger happy to a fault. Users stumble onto the next thing rather than immerse themselves in the webpage SU recommends. Of course, not every recommendation SU serves will be spot on. Yet, in the instance that a user stumbles upon something that directly resonates with her/him, (s)he may even earn the title of “most engaged visitor of the day”.
Original article courtesy of shareaholic.com
Close your eyes and picture McDonald’s famous golden arches. Now, imagine if they had been gray. Would the burger chain be the international success it is today?
The color of some logos is more powerful than the logos themselves — think the red of Coca-Cola or the pink of Barbie or the rainbow colors of Google.
Color can become a key part of any brand. Whether your logo is red and intense, yellow and joyful or black and mysterious, its colors are announcing something to the customer. As you create the perfect logo, be sure to pay attention to the color messages you’re sending.
Check out the infographic below to figure out exactly what your logo’s colors are telling potential customers.
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