To help keep you in-the-know, here are some of our predictions and insights into 2016 social media trends.
The social media landscape is constantly changing and we are sure to see it go through a number of changes over the next year. To help keep you in-the-know, here are some of our predictions and insights into 2016 social media trends.
Twitter’s Periscope, a live video streaming app, launched in March of 2015. Since that time, it has grown immensely and changed the way we interact with video. In the beginning, Periscope was rivaled by a very similar app, Meerkat. However, it seems that Periscope has won the battle of the live video streaming apps with 2 million daily active users as of August 2015 (Mobile World Live).
On January 12, 2016 videos from Twitter’s Periscope app began appearing in users’ feeds, “right within the social network’s main app on iPhones and iPads” (The Guardian). If you are looking for a fun, new way to engage with followers in 2016, give Periscope a try!
Increased Paid Advertising
The top social media sites are furiously rolling out new advertising capabilities, causing advertisers to increase their budgets. From the introduction of Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr advertising to new Twitter ad features, there is ample opportunity to increase your social media ROI in 2016.
According to Marketing Land, Twitter will continue rolling out the new Promoted Moments native ad product, event targeting, advanced retargeting and more in 2016.
Greater Focus on Customer Service
Many companies are placing a greater emphasis on social customer service in the New Year. It is no longer acceptable to use social sites to ‘talk at’ your users. Now we must engage with our users to keep them happy. Many customers take directly to social media to voice a complaint. Are you prepared to engage?
New Image Size Guidelines
One thing we can count on to constantly change is the image sizing guidelines for the various social sites. Knowing and following the recommended dimensions for each site is vital to maintaining your professional look. Review this 2016 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet from Search Engine Journal and save it to your desktop for reference!
If you need assistance with tackling social media in 2016, please CONTACT SQT WEB SOLUTIONS TEAM URGENTLY . We would be happy to help!
Source: Informatics All Things Internet
Have your email open and click rates been suffering due to your stale email marketing strategy? Switch things up with these 20 fast tips for improving your stats.
1. Experiment by A/B Testing Your Subject Lines. Ensure that you get the most out of these tests by using two subject lines that differ in their objectives (e.g. fear-inducing vs. special offer).
2. Segment Your Lists. This allows you to closely monitor which groups of people are attracted to which types of content. In addition, you can send specialized e-blasts to smaller lists, drastically improving your open rates.
3. Use a Reply-to Email Address that is actually Managed. Don’t set up a ‘do not reply’ email address for your company blasts. Instead, set up an alias, such as CustomerService@Company.com to manage the replies that come in.
4. Integrate Google Analytics Goal Tracking. Determine what the main goal of each e-blast is and set up tracking in Google Analytics to help monitor that goal. By doing this you can easily see which sign-ups, emails, downloads and more resulted from your email marketing campaign.
5. Incorporate Video. For a fresh new way to take on email marketing, begin adding videos to your e-blasts. This sort of interactivity is sure to increase open and click rates.
6. Test, Test, Test! Whether you test your emails using multiple email clients, a large testing team or a specialized platform, like Litmus, as long as you are testing you are doing something right. Better yet, set up a process utilizing all three of these tactics!
7. Don’t Forget to Send Recipients to Social Media. Make your social media icons an official part of your email template to encourage cross-platform engagement.
8. Make Use of the Header. Subject lines offer limited space, but the header provides ample opportunity to put a little more information in the preview!
9. Create Big CTA Buttons. Hyperlinks can be easily overlooked but a big “Buy Now” button is hard to miss.
10. Send Targeted Emails. As mentioned above, segmented lists offer many benefits such as the ability to send targeted emails. If you have a list of people that you know are interested in a specific product, don’t be afraid to send them a targeted blast.
11. Be Useful. This is an obvious one but it needed to be said. So many times we are in a hurry and end up bombarding our customers with information we find important rather than taking the time to find out what they really care about.
12. Don’t Get Lazy with Your Subject Lines. Be creative but stay focused on the goal! Think about what entices you to open an email and remember this is where A/B testing comes in handy.
13. Analyze your Statistics. All of this hard work and testing means nothing if you aren’t analyzing and learning from the results.
14. Include Multiple Links Back to Your Website. Your website is home base and your email marketing strategy is just another way to drive traffic there. Including multiple links back to your website in the form of hyperlinks, buttons and linked images will increase click-through rates dramatically.
15. Make it Easy to Scan. People are strapped for time these days, always on the go and expecting bite-sized pieces of information. To accommodate this, make your emails easy to scan with bulleted lists, images and small paragraphs.
16. Create Specialized Landing Pages. If you have a particular campaign you are running on your site, drive people to that specialized landing page. If you are advertising specific products, create a landing page to direct email recipients to. Make it easy to convert!
17. Include Personalize Introductions. If the emails on your email lists have names associated with them, take advantage of this information and personalize your emails.
18. Plan Ahead with an Email Marketing Calendar. Flying by the seat of your pants won’t do with email marketing. You need to create a cohesive calendar that incorporates all of your digital marketing activities and keeps you ahead of schedule.
19. Keep Tabs on the Best of Breed in your Industry. Track down the leaders in your industry and subscribe to their email lists to keep track of what they are doing. Let their great ideas inspire yours.
20. Make it Mobile-Friendly. Need we say more?
If you need assistance with managing an email marketing strategy or incorporating any of these tips, do not hesitate to conatct SQT WEB SOLUTIONS TODAY
Source: Informatics All Things Internet
Every web project is different – very different. In an effort to maintain a process and keep things on track, developers will follow one of two popular methodologies: waterfall or agile. The methodology your developer takes should depend on your project needs and goals. However, some developers will choose the approach that best fits their personal needs. We recommend against this. At Informatics, we take the time to learn about your project before implementing waterfall or agile methodology. To help you better prepare for your next web project, start thinking about which approach best suits you.
The Waterfall Methodology
The Waterfall Methodology, or the traditional approach, is defined by Segue Technologies as a “linear approach to software development”. In other words, developers follow steps in a specific order, moving from top to bottom (hence the name waterfall). There are typically distinct stages of development in this approach wherein each stage finishes before the next one can begin.
The stages may look similar to this:
- Discovery & Requirements Gathering
- Testing (Multiple forms)
One major advantage to the Waterfall Methodology is that it provides a straightforward plan of action and understanding of deliverables. A disadvantage is that the Waterfall Methodology requires specific details upfront which can sometimes be difficult to gather and intimidating for the client.
The Agile Methodology
Segue Technologies defines the Agile Methodology as an “iterative, team-based approach to development”. This approach relies on a high-level of customer involvement as deliverables are being completed, reviewed and evaluated by the developers and client on an ongoing basis. This approach entails a lot more back-and-forth between the team and client.
An advantage to Agile Methodology is that the customer has the opportunity to work directly with the project team, continually providing feedback and seeing updates in near real-time. However, customer involvement can also be a disadvantage when the customer does not have the time or interest to be involved at such a high level.
Which One is Right for You?
If your company would like to be directly involved in the web project, continually providing feedback, reviewing builds and suggesting updates, then the Agile Methodology of development is for you. On the other hand, if you do not have a team member dedicated to this level of involvement, the Waterfall Methodology may be best. In this case, you will be heavily involved upfront and can be looped back in whenever deadlines are met and deliverables are provided.
Conttact SQT WEB SOLUTIONS for your next web project and we will work with you to determine which approach is best.
Source: Informatics All Things Internet
Disruptive technologies in social commerce, mobile and customer experience have transformed the retail industry. The mission for all brand marketers now is to stay ahead of the curve and spot trends that will boost sales and provide customers with the most efficient and pleasurable online shopping experience. While there’s a lot of crystal ball gazing in the retail industry, we’ve gathered key insights from five experts on what the future of e-commerce holds.
By 2022, brick and mortar retail spaces will be little more than showrooms. – Eddie Machaalani & Mitchell Har Continue reading
You recognize that in order to succeed in a competitive market you need to have the best brand experience for your customers. With the great waves of marketing change over the past few years the social and mobile web has given the consumer the power to choose on many different platforms. This leaves you with the task of finding the right agency to deliver your company’s message to your potential customers in the most efficient and effective way possible.
We’ve compiled a che Continue reading
I see it time and time again: The number-one challenge faced by brand-new internet business owners is a lack of traffic. Obviously, if your website isn’t getting any traffic, you’re not generating any sales. And what’s worse is that without traffic, you can’t test the key components of your sales process. And if you roll out a large traffic campaign beforeyou’ve tested your site to make sure it converts maximum visitors into buyers, you risk losing sales and looking unprofessional to potential business partners and affiliates.
So you’re caught in a vicious cycle: Before ramping up a big traffic campaign, you need to test your sales process, but without any tr Continue reading
If something is hard to use it doesn’t get used very much.
1. Budgeting for initial site development and ignoring maintenance.
Calendars and announcements seem like obvious reasons for site maintenance; but the fact is that there is no such thing as content that will never change. When a site becomes outdated it tells visitors that the site owner is sloppy and unreliable. It announces clearly that there is no reason to look further at the site or to Continue reading
Here are 12 e-commerce strategies you should plan to implement in 2016:
1. Micro-Target an Online Audience. E-commerce is basically about establishing a “territory”: defining and designing a site to reach an audience with a common interest or characteristic. Whatever your product or service, define your company’s niche markets that you can penetrate online with specialized offerings.
2. Personalize. Site visitors are demanding one-of-a-kind experiences that cater to their needs and interests. Technology is available, even to smaller players, to capture individual shoppers’ interests and preferences and generate a product selection and shopping experience led by individualized promotions tailored to them.
3. Create Content to Build Stickiness. Winning e-commerce deploys crowd-sourced content to make a site “sticky” for potential buyers. Amazon attracted millions of consumers by encouraging them to share their opinions of items like books and CDs. What is your strategy to help potential customers for your products or services find you via Google? Use keywords and meta tags to raise your ranking in search results.
4. Tailor the Browsing Experience to Target Segments. Brand-appropriate site design and well-structured navigation remain key ingredients for attracting an audience and getting them to come back. Provide an enticing browsing experience across online platforms. If you want to sell backpacks to college students, for example, use vibrant colors with a flashy design to evoke a sense of youth and adventure.
5. Integrate Across Channels. Create multi-channel offerings, enabling your consumers to experience your brand consistently, whatever their shopping method of choice. But be sure that products you are selling via different channels are sufficiently differentiated to account for price differences.
6. Invest in Mobile. Mobile commerce is growing at a rate of over 130 percent annually. If you lack a robust mobile commerce platform, you will see a dramatic drop off in revenue over the next several years. To stay competitive, you need to offer mobile-accessible services such as delivery status, real-time notifications, click-to-call, maps, and product information.
7. Tap into Logistics. To accommodate growth, you may need to tap the capabilities of third-party logistics providers (3PLs) to manage a high volume of complex orders. Reverse logistics, the ability to handle returns and exchanges quickly and economically, is becoming a key differentiator. Same-day delivery and innovative fulfillment networks can be competitive advantages.
8. Consider Subscription Commerce. Subscription commerce takes several forms. In the replenishment model, a commodity item is sent to the customer every month. The discovery model is more promising. It offers a subscription to a curated experience that delivers new, hard-to-find, or customized items periodically to the customer’s doorstep.
9. Bypass the Middlemen. The Internet is enabling small companies to reach lots of consumers quickly. Manufacturers, including factories in China, are increasingly willing to work with small brands. They have discovered that small brands are more likely to introduce new products to market because they are less constrained by shelf space limitations and complex supply chains.
10. Offer a Seamless Experience Across Channels. Your sales will grow if you ensure that product availability, promotional strategies, and brand experience are consistent across all channels — whether online, in-store, or on a mobile device. Implement cloud-based supply chain technology to gain visibility into your performance across all channels.
11. Curate a Proprietary Selection. Proprietary selection is a strategy that focuses on “curating” a narrow and deep assortment of products in a particular segment. These sites make merchandise feel exclusive due to the depth and originality of the assortment, the difficulty in finding the products elsewhere, and the power of customer communities.
12. Sell Internet-Only Merchandise. This is a strategy that builds an exclusive brand — with ecommerce as the core distribution channel. By offering goods that are not available elsewhere and selling them directly to the consumer online, you maintain much greater control over your margins.
When it comes to starting an online store, there are many things to take into consideration. One of the most important parts of the puzzle is which platform to use to power your e-commerce site.
I work for a search engine marketing agency, AdFicient, and we do a lot of e-commerce work for our clients. Thus what you are Continue reading