Email Marketing + SEO = A Winning Combination

Email Marketing + SEO = A Winning Combination | Asterisk CreativeAs most business owners and marketers know, tying your marketing efforts together makes for a successful overall strategy. An old adage said that consumers needed to see a marketing message three times to remember it. In recent years, as digital marketing has grown and attention spans have lessened, that adage has changed to be that consumers need to see a message seven to 10 times. This is part of why email marketing and SEO make such a great combination!

For starters, email subscribers tend to be more engaged with a company than the average website visitor. Since your email newsletters should contain links to your website, those that receive your emails and click your links are more likely to be engaged with your website. This equates to higher numbers of site visits, lower bounce rates for pages visited, etc. More website engagement signals to the search engines that your website content should be seen more. In turn, this potentially increases your organic rankings.

In addition, most email providers such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, iContact, and others offer links to each of your email newsletters. Adding a “newsletter archive” page to your site can benefit you in multiple ways. Site visitors can see what your email blasts are like before subscribing. This increases your chances of gaining subscribers that actually WANT to receive and engage with your emails. On top of that, each time you add your latest newsletter link to your newsletter archive page, the search engines potentially see that as an update to the page. With fresh website content being a premium for search engine indexing, these updates count as updated/new content. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of keeping your site ranking well in the organic results.

Are you ready to take your email marketing and search engine optimization further? Asterisk Creative can help! Give us a shout and let’s get the ball rolling!

Using Facebook Messenger for Business

Facebook Messenger for Business | Asterisk Creative | Southeast's Premier Social Media Marketing AgencyIn our last post, we touched on how adding a live chat feature to your website could add to your company’s trustworthiness. Honestly, we know that that’s not possible for many business owners for a variety of reasons. But if you have a business Facebook page, you have a chat feature of sorts at your disposal.

Facebook Messenger offers customers and potential customers the ability to reach you directly and chat with you in real time, even though it’s not housed on your website. Folks look for this feature at an increasing rate, as it turns out. Studies show, in fact, that the Facebook Messenger app is used almost as much as native text apps on mobile phones.

Additionally, if you consistently respond quickly, a badge goes on your business page that indicates to users that you’re responsive. This is another piece that plays into that trustworthiness factor. (In this case, “quickly” is defined as roughly within an hour or so.)

What’s more, Facebook also offers a chatbot feature for Messenger. Chatbots send an automated response that businesses can use to communicate when there isn’t a dedicated person to do so. There are two types of chatbots for Facebook right now. One is a subscription bot that offers users information (like weather, traffic, etc) when they subscribe to get those messages. The other offers customized messaging such as receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages that pull responses from a repository based on terms in the message from the user.

Chatbots can help get users engaged with your company. And we all know that’s a great thing! However, there are some downsides.

  1. They’re not free. You either have to build your own or purchase/subscribe to one through a service that offers them.
  2. They do not offer personalized messages to your subscribers/those that message you. It’s pretty much canned content all around.
  3. Messages are sorted into one of several inboxes when they come in. If they go to your spam inbox, there’s a good chance both you and your chatbot will miss responding.

As you can see, there are pros and cons with Facebook Messenger bots, as there are with most things. If you’d like to “chat” about whether a bot could help your business or how you could be using Facebook Messenger for business in general, give Asterisk Creative a call today!

Ways to Make Social Media Not So Overwhelming

social media | asterisk creative | southeast's premier social media agencyMost anyone who’s been near a computer in the last 10 years has probably found themselves down the rabbit hole that is social media. Add in the fact that you’re a business owner with a business to run, and thinking of spending time marketing via social media can seem more than daunting. Here are a few tips to help.

  • Focus on your overall marketing goals and objectives.
    Just as you wouldn’t run print ads in every publication in your market, don’t try to be everywhere online. Match the social media outlets where you market your business to your marketing goals and where you’ll reach your audience.
  • Use social media to be social.
    Don’t focus your posts on “me, me, me” and solely talking about your products or services. Focus on the potential clients within your fans/followers. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Use the opportunity to “start a conversation” about how you can help them.
  • Use a calendar and a timer.
    Set aside a specific amount of time each day to work on your social media. Schedule out your posts to make sure you’re posting consistently, but be sure to leave some time to monitor the comments and such your posts are receiving and respond as necessary.
  • Don’t go it alone.
    Understand the value of your time and where your business needs you to be focused. Enlist help to make your social media efforts manageable.

At Asterisk Creative, we pride ourselves on offering the ability to work with our clients’ budgets and create results through social media marketing. When paired with our other services, like public relations and an overall marketing strategy, we can help you hit the mark with your audience and take your business to the next level. Contact us for help today!

How Important is a Competitive Marketing Analysis?

competitive marketing analysis | Asterisk Creative | southeast's premier marketing agencyWhen considering your marketing plan, a competitive marketing analysis is a critical piece of the puzzle. Here’s why.

  • A competitive analysis will reveal your direct competition (those selling the same products/services as you in the same geographic area) as well as your indirect competition (those selling products/services similar to yours – not the same – that solve the same problem for the customer). You’ll need to know and understand both sets of competition to set the right strategy to give you a competitive advantage.
  • Knowing where your competitors are advertising can inform decisions on where you should advertise, too. We’re not saying place ads beside your competitors everywhere they are. But it’s possible that outlets they’re using but you hadn’t considered could be a good fit for you, too. It’s also possible that some of their advertising speaks to a niche market you hadn’t thought of before but makes sense after all.
  • Your competitors’ marketing messages can reveal their strengths and their weaknesses. Playing on their weaknesses, so to speak, differentiates your business from theirs, and this may speak to a pain point for a segment of clients you can help and they can’t.
  • Partnership and cross-promotion opportunities may present themselves. Just as knowing where your competitors are advertising, knowing the types of businesses they’re using for partnerships or cross-promotion can spark ideas for you, too.
  • Knowing which publications cover your competitors gives you a list of publications for your public relations people to target as well.

The marketing team at Asterisk Creative are pros at conducting a competitive marketing analysis for our clients, then setting a goal-focused marketing strategy from the findings. Contact Asterisk Creative and get your marketing analysis started today!

The Basics of Influencer Marketing

influencer marketing | asterisk creative | southeast's premier marketing agencyThere’s a lot of talk these days about influencer marketing and how to work with influencers to promote your brand, products, and services. But what is influencer marketing?

In every industry, there are those that others look to for best practices, up-to-date-information, etc. These are your influencers. With the growth of blogging and social media, influencers can dive deeper into niches, specializing in very specific products, locales/neighborhoods, or both.

Many influencers – and those that fancy themselves as such – reach out to companies they’d like to partner with and offer blog posts and/or social media posts in exchange for goods and services. Some business owners fall prey to these folks throwing big numbers at them, but without asking the right questions, they may as well be handing their wares to Joe Blow on the street.

Instead, business owners need to be checking out the influencer’s blog/social media to see if they’re even a good fit for the brand. If that seems to be a match, business owners dig deeper. What’s the influencer’s average reach per post? How have similar posts done, engagement-wise? How many posts will the business get in exchange for the goods/services they’re providing? What type of editorial approval process is included? Business owners need to stay on top of whether the influencer is honoring the brand and reputation they’ve worked to build…or are they tearing it all down in one big swoop.

Does all of this sound overwhelming to you? Don’t let influencer marketing fall on your shoulders, on top of everything else. Let us put our knowledge and contacts to use for you. Contact Asterisk Creative today.

Asterisk Creative – Your Digital Marketing One-Stop Shop

digital marketing agency | asterisk creativeThere are a lot of components to digital marketing. In general, it is comprised of website design and development, SEO, social media marketing, and pay-per-click advertising. Basically, it’s any marketing and advertising that appears online.

Many freelancers and solopreneurs fancy themselves digital marketers, jacks-of-all-trades so to speak. We’re here to tell you that that’s nearly impossible. Keeping up with algorithm changes, privacy laws, best practices, and such across one or two digital marketing platforms can be a full-time job in and of itself. One person may be able to do well across the board, but they cannot really excel.

At Asterisk Creative, we understand this and have a team behind your digital marketing. We have folks that focus solely on social media, solely on website design, solely on SEO – and each knows their specialty inside and out. They work and train to stay on top of the latest and greatest in their field, and they put that knowledge to work for our clients. Additionally, they work together to make sure all of the client’s digital marketing elements are working together favorably and promoting the brand appropriately.

Don’t trust your digital marketing to just anyone. To get your digital marketing going full speed, contact Asterisk Creative today.

A CAN-SPAM Primer for Email Marketing

CAN-SPAM Primer for Email MarketingIf you use email marketing for your business, you need to know the CAN-SPAM law inside and out. This federal law breaks down what is allowed and what isn’t when it comes to email marketing.

Here are a few main components of the law, straight from the government’s website:

  • Your header information must be accurate. Your “From,” “To,” and “Reply-To,” information must be correct and identify the person or business who sent the message. This includes the originating domain name and email address.
  • You should not use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect what the email is about. You should not put anything in a headline that’s sole purpose is to get someone to click the link, but then the email isn’t what the headline promised.
  • Let your subscribers know the message is an ad. There’s nothing specific about HOW you should do this within the law. However, you must disclose in a clearly visible way that your message is an advertisement.
  • You must include your physical addresss in the email message. This can be your current street address, a P.O. Box you’ve registered with the USPS, or a private mailbox you’ve rented through a facility like the UPS Store or those types of locations. But it absolutely HAS to be an address currently associated with your business.
  • You must tell recipients how to stop receiving emails from you. Your email must include an explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting emails from you in the future. It must be easily understandable and easy for the recipient to execute. One option is an opt-out link within the email. Another option is instructions on emailing a specific address and what to include in that message.
  • You must remove opt-outs quickly. Opt-out requests must be removed from your subscriber list within 10 business days. You cannot charge to remove people from your list. You also cannot require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on a website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
  • Responsibility lies with you for the law being followed by your blasts, even if you have a company doing your email blasts for you. Both your company (the company being promoted in the message) and the company you hired that actually sends the message can be held legally responsible.

Breaking any part of this federal law opens your company to the risk of a fine of up to $40,654. That’s not a fee many of our clients could survive. So if you need help staying on top of email marketing laws and best practices, give Asterisk Creative a shout!

How Often Should I Post?

How Often Should You Post? | Social Media and Blogging Tips | Southeast Marketing and Advertising Agency | Asterisk CreativeBased on the things we hear day in and day out, it would seem the biggest question in internet marketing is: How often should I post?

Sharing information that is relevant and interesting regarding you and your brand, whenever that comes up, is important. The caveat here is that some sort of consistency is important. Now that Facebook and Instagram in particular have algorithms dictating a lot of when and how your posts are shown to your audience – and potential followers – you really need to keep your message flowing.

As general guidelines, we typically suggest posting:

  • at least once per month on a blog
  • four to seven times per week on Facebook
  • at least once per week on LinkedIn
  • and at least once per day on Twitter and Instagram

Using this as a jumping off point, you can get a feel for whether your audience responds to this frequency or if they want more. You can also use the data provided by each of the outlets to determine what time of day is best for you, what days your audience is more engaged, and what topics your audience responds to more so you can make the most of all your posts, regardless of the outlet.

Need help with your internet marketing posting strategy? Contact Asterisk Creative today.

Get the Best from Your Graphic Designer

Get the Best from Your Graphic Designer | Asterisk Creative | Southeast Branding AgencyWhen hiring a graphic designer, a lot gets laid on their shoulders and depends on their skills. But there are a few things you can bring to the table to get the best from your graphic designer. Here are a few tips.

Know the goals of the piece you want designed.
Is this an informational piece? Is the purpose of this piece more to drive sales? The look and feel of the design will be completely different depending on what you want the piece to accomplish. Communicating your goals to your graphic designer is certainly essential to get a proper design.

Communicate your expectations and deadlines.
Among the first pieces of information your graphic designer needs is your deadline. Everything hinges on that. Your designer will need to work backwards to factor in print time, proof time, revision time and design time. Your graphic designer also needs to know how involved you want or need to be, as well as any fonts and colors associated with your brand. This will allow them to work with you appropriately in terms of how strict a brand standard they need to stick to.

Be clear about your design ideas and inspirations.
If you have a concept in your head – or in your boardroom – of how you want your piece to look, let your graphic designer know now, not later. No one wants to let a client down. And no one wants to spend time on a design that doesn’t match what a client is looking for. If your brand is built upon a Bohemian look, giving a designer free reign may find you getting a highly structural piece back as a result. And you’re not going to like it.

Also be crystal clear about your audience.
While your wants and needs should come into play, a good graphic designer is going to chat with you about who you’re trying to reach, too. As we’ve discussed in a previous post, things that seem like simple choices, like fonts and colors, often communicate “messages” of their own. Having a graphic designer that knows those messages and uses them to your advantage in reaching YOUR audience is crucial.

Ready to get started with your graphic design project? Contact Asterisk Creative today.

What is Interactive Marketing?

What is Interactive Marketing? | Asterisk Creative | Southeast Advertising AgencyAgencies throw around terms like interactive marketing as part of their daily jargon. But what is interactive marketing?

Interactive marketing is also known as event-driven marketing or trigger-based marketing. In this type of marketing, an event/trigger starts a two-way interaction between a potential customer and a company. (One example of such a trigger is a post on a social media outlet.) This one-on-one communication usually happens in the form of comments on posts. It is deeply dependent on a company’s content strategy and the content that is produced.

Interactive marketing tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and other social media outlets allow these types of engagement and interactions with your audience. The challenges in interactive marketing come not just from creating content that will garner engagement from your audience. They also come in the monitoring and maintenance needed to keep the conversation going. In addition, gathering and combining customer information that is typically siloed to get out the right message at the right time presents a challenge.

At Asterisk Creative, we use our knowledge and experience to help you pick the interactive marketing outlets that are ideal for your company and your audience, as well as to assist you with the content needed for these platforms. Contact Asterisk Creative to get your interactive marketing campaign started today.