Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Create an Effective Email Opt-In List
Email marketing remains to be one of the top sources for lead management. Studies show that businesses that build a strong network for their email list have a positive return of investment of up to sixty percent. Take, for instance, that enjoys their profit of $75 billion just for the year of 2013.


They have the urgency to treat their customers as a precious source of information, meaning they value consensus building of what their customers really want to receive in their emails, and they know very well the value of integrity of email marketing.
So why then email marketing remains a leading communication channel? 

Let us face it, all Internet users today still love receiving their non-spam emails. They even check them every day.

With this note, it is vital for all business, either small or big to work the most of their email list. How? Through the most reliable and efficient way, email opt-in list.

Email opt-in list is a means of encouraging customers to give willingly their email addresses, which is not only part of the sign up process, but as part of the company's contact list for email updates and newsletters. A "double opt-in list," another process to ask customers to give out their email addresses, is sending subsequent confirmation email after a customer has signed up to be on the email list.

All in all, email opt-in list provides a direct line of communication between any business' target audience, and it also builds a trusting relationship between its subscribers.

Having an email opt-in list is important in order to avoid emails being reported as "spam." Why? Because when a company is not honest enough or is sending emails where customers aren't expecting them, a customer can report these emails as "spam" to its Internet Service Provider like Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, and MSN. And when this happens, ISP will start monitoring all email activity of the company, and when enough people on the contact list have reported their emails as spam, the company can be blocked. 

Any business could not afford this from happening because not only will their email server be blocked from sending any emails, including emails that have any link related to their business site, but it would also be almost impossible for them to retract the ISP's decision; and this could even mean the end of their business.

Though, many businesses may prefer social media icons instead of email opt-ins, but even if likes and followers may be valuable, email listing remains to be as important.


Social networks do not generate any list that the company actually owns.
So, how then can one fatten their email opt-in list, and get customers to sign up? Here are tips that can help any business capitalize and generate more leads through their opt-in list strategies:

  • Make it Easy and Visible for Customers to Opt In. Time is very essential and not everyone is patient enough to spend a lot in filling up too much information in the sign up page. Therefore, when people are on the website, signing up should only take as little as possible. The less information you ask from them, the more people will sign up. Likewise, opt-in forms must be very visible, so that it would be hard for visitors to miss it. It does not even matter if the site over kills opt-in forms, so long as emailing listing are doubled or tripled. As a tip, opt-in forms can be placed on the primary content window, on the right-side hand of the page, or even below every blog post.
  • Experiment with pop-up Ads. Though, most of the time users gets annoyed receiving these pop-up ads, it is still amazing that it can generate not just clicks, but a compelling number of new subscribers as well. In fact, studies show that many businesses can generate as much as 13% to 15% of sales because of pop-up ads. Showing visitors what is in it for them when they sign up, makes a pop-up ad more interesting and will likely generate leads. For instance, if the website is all about healthy living, their pop-ups must be design in a way that their visitors get so many benefits when they sign up, such as telling them that they will become one of the few smarter people in the world to make the first step to a healthy living, or as part of the signing up, they will receive free video tutorials of diet and exercising tips. All these makes it a great way to present to the visitors what else they can get aside from receiving daily or weekly updates about the company and its products.
  • Offer incentives subscribers cannot resist. Incentives do not always mean fabulous prices for signing up. While this could be a good idea, at some point, businesses will end up with a subscriber who only wants to win, but not someone entirely interested of what the company has to offer. Offering incentives through reports, audio seminars, freebies, newsletters, webinar, free e-books, or other vital information about the services and products is more appealing. Another better approach is to keep subscribers from actually subscribing. For instance, dividing video tutorials or audio seminars into parts, and only revealing the last part or the rest of the videos exclusively when they subscribe, leaves subscribers wanting for more, making them stay as a definite subscriber. 
  • Building business density - the conventional "word of mouth," is the most effective means of advertising and is also applicable online.  By showing new visitors how many people have trusted your company through the number of subscribers one have, or by showing how positive comments and surveys are about the company, how many followers or shares have been accumulated through other social media accounts, and how positive reports are regardless of sales, awards accumulated, or anything valuable information that could uplift the company, will likely convince new subscribers the density of the business. This in turn, will convince them to trust the business, which could generate not just a number of sales, but a number of new opt-in subscribers as well.
Any expert online marketer would always say that "the money is always in the list." Generating leads for opt-in subscribers can be difficult and time consuming, but it is worth the gold. How one business goes about building strong email list depends on their creativity and willingness to innovate. By investing time and loads of effort into an email marketing campaign, any business would surely agree first-hand how efficient and effective email opt-in list can boost their sales and revenue.

Craig Corbel is the Vice President of Marketing for Solution Web Designs, a NYC-Based web design firm that specializes in online marketing and email newsletter services for small and mid-sized business.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Why Small Business Needs to be on Google Places

Importance of Google Places for Businesses

The basic know-how for any business is to gain visibility in search engine results either for a local or global market. One of the most effective strategies is to optimize the use of Google’s website listing services such as the Google Places. 

Big or small, more and more businesses, are grabbing this free service for their potential customers to find them easily. In fact, according to Google, a large percentage of searches online are related to mapping or location searches for businesses.

What is Google Places?

Google Places is an innovative search facility that focuses on creating a reliable database of places, including those of establishments and businesses. Business owners, who are enlisted with Google, may use this listing service to manage and promote the physical location of their business.

For instance, one customer is looking for lighting fixtures for his new restaurant. Yes, he may be looking only for images or possible products fit for his new restaurant, but in the latter, he may also be looking for places where to purchase them. So, if Business A is advertising lighting products tailored fit for restaurants and offices and is listed in Google Places, their products will be part of Google’s online advertising program that enables them to reach this potential customer who is interested in buying lighting fixtures fit for his new restaurant. This way, a business listing with Google Places can find an excellent opportunity to create brand awareness.

Advantages of Google Places

Employing the use of Google Places is highly recommended, not only for small businesses starting up, but for any business wanting to get a free exposure online. More so, Google Places gives businesses control of their brands.

It allows businesses to manage the information they put in correlation to their brands and present them the way they like it for searchers online to see. One may fill up the information page with information like the business’ logo, photos of business store fronts or products, their description of what services or products they offer, hours of operation, their contact information, and other vital information they want their searchers to know.
Managing all these information is very easy. 

Plus, one may change it anytime they wish to, especially if there are important updates or changes to the business information or products and services they offer. First, however, is for the business owner to participate with Google Places’ free online registration, then fill up their information and verify their account. As the account is established, Google Places will simply give a walk through on the following steps to get started and take control of the business and their brands. All these steps make sure that only the right information is displayed for Google Places to advertise. 

Other Benefits of Google Places Include:

Google Places is a cost effective local marketing strategy. Unlike other Google advertising systems where clients are charged per click of the researcher, Google Places is absolutely free. Even businesses that did not put up any website yet may register and use their services for free. In fact, it is by far the cheapest means to advertise, even with traditional options like pamphlets and leaflets. More so, their premium options like advertising coupons for first time or repeat customers as well as information where to find the nearest parking in your business is absolutely free.

  • Google Places enables businesses to reach millions of online users – numbers have already proven that over 97% of searches are coming from those looking for local businesses or local establishments online. In the first place, this already makes sense because why would someone from New York be looking for something he immediately needs in  state. This is why it is important for any business to boost first their local markets before going big, and with Google Places’ great listing, local businesses will have bigger chance for their millions of customers to find them easily.
  • Improved search engine page rank – not only does Google Places focuses on local searches, it also prioritizes businesses listed with them in Google’s searches and display them at first rank on search engine result pages. For instance, for a steak house business in Queens’s area New York enlisted with Google Places, will have first priority over other steak house businesses in the same area, giving more potential customers. Then again, Google Places will only show results for steak houses within the Queens’s area and not the entire New York City. Therefore, competition from businesses from other city or states or outside of the locality is restricted. And so, the possibility of a steak house business enlisted with Google Places to be found is much better.
  • Freedom for Keyword Traffic- since Google Places allows customers to choose keywords to trigger their businesses. The relevance of this system is that it gives clients enough leeway and be more creative to think of the best and most effective search keywords they think may give them sufficient online traffic.
  • Businesses are easily found in Google Maps – giving the exact location of a business gives more access for potential customers to actually buy or take their services. It then becomes hassle free, without having to spend too much time, money, and effort roaming and asking around for the business’ location.
  • Google Places is easy to manage – maintaining the information in Google Places is very easy. Business owners only have to log in, and they may edit or update their information anytime. They may even check how many clicks they got or how many people have seen their ads.
  • Google Places is available through smart phones – convenience is the key to modern world and with Google Places being on mobile phones, it becomes easy for anyone to locate and reach the exact location of the business they are searching for and this again only means more potential customers.
Thanks to the innovation of internet marketing, finding a business brand or service today is more convenient and time efficient. With the help of Google Places, more and more businesses are given the chance to optimize internet advertising through their free and effective services.

Craig Corbel is the Vice President of Marketing for Solution Web Designs, an agency specializing in web design and online marketing, including Local SEO services for small business.

Additional Information

The Importance of Regular Press Releases

Man Reading a Press Release

The Internet has become an influential means for people today. Which is why, over time more and more businesses have utilized all its resources as an important tool for marketing. 


The cost effectiveness of online mediums can boost a business' likelihood to increase revenue by reaching a wider scope of audience for their potential customers.

One major component of online advertising and strategic optimization of a website is through press releases.  Their popularity has doubled over the decade reaching to over thousands of press release sites that are offered for free online.

Using and online marketing agency should be part of your strategic portfolio. They have replaced numerous traditional pricey means for brand promotion and public relations communication, such as print and media ads in televisions and radio that may only reach a local or smaller group of audience. Unlike them, the new way of a press release online is all about written announcements directed at members of a business group.

As a new-age marketing tool, what most business enterprises send out as a press release are write ups about scheduled events, new products, new services, promotions, sales, and other announcements claimed as having great news value.

More so, press releases are also highly utilized to create customer density. A certain write up can talk about how positive their business or products get from customer reviews and comments. When other members see this, they are more likely to be enticed to invest or buy the said product. The same goes when business uses press release to promote a new product or service. It becomes easy for these kinds of news to become viral as it improves the chances that other customers who may have already tried it to share the good news to their other friends and colleagues.
Just like the traditional "word of mouth" strategies that businesses invest in back in the old days is the same online strategy that press releases hope to claim. By publishing positive write ups online, a business appears more prominent and acquires more credibility when many have judged the piece important enough for it to be republished by another objective third party.

Other important features that businesses can utilize out of a press release are:

  • Control over press release form - making the write up as relevant and interesting in the form that one wants is the essence of a true press release. Other than just writing blogs or news articles, one can add their personal touch through a video clip, images, or any multimedia material that can convey a story or message in a way how one may want it to be as interesting and exciting.
  • Gives wider exposure - with millions of users online it is not impossible to reach them all, but what is more interesting is that there are over 300 press releases that with high rankings that offer their services absolutely free.
  • Providing ads on - a press release needs to be more than just an announcement of news. It should provide the reader a wider perspective and much more action opportunities that keep them continuing not just their membership, but also their interest to read every press release. This can be done through special offers, free trials and consultations, paper download discounts, referral forms, newsletters, free webinars, podcasts of learning materials, and reports of accomplishments and awards.
  • Portability and convenience - press releases can be read significantly in any form of social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn where expansion of target audience is present. Blogs are another medium where press releases can be maximized, which can be included to the official company's website. More so, press releases can now be read even with smartphones.
How to Optimize Press Releases for Better Results

Provided that press releases are such an important means for online marketing strategy, maximizing its resources will more likely reach wider prospective customers. When they are carefully written with relevant and interesting information, a press release can easily be found, readable, and shareable by its target audience. Hiring an experienced press release service can ensure all your online marketing goals are achieved.

About eighty percent of online purchases start with web searches and using search engine optimization can help any website deliver their press releases effectively with outstanding results. Here are tips to optimize better a certain press release:

  • Identify search terms that would lead back to the press release - search items are used to electronically retrieve data. They are what surfers use to enter in search engine fields. So, if the business is all about car parts, keywords used on title pages as well as in description pages should match search terms that users may use.
  • Scatter keywords in the body of the content - keyword cannibalism is something that all publishers must avoid. Press release must only contain about three to four relevant keywords that should be scattered and repeated not more than four or five times on the content. This way, search engine will find the write up keyword rich and link it more often when corresponding search terms are looked up online, which give better search reviews and results.
  • Build Links and hyperlinks back to the website - hyperlinks are considered as the backbone of websites. They are used to link a business website outside to reach a wider scope of audience. In the case of a press release, they are used as footnotes to direct back the audience to the website and to allow them to move freely around the website to explore more information provided.
  • Use social bookmark -social bookmarking is dedicated to manage daily work during internet surfing. By using social bookmarking to share business URLs, press releases will gain more search engine visibility and views.
  • Use multimedia links for YouTube - using video uploaded on YouTube of flash media makes any press release more interesting and worth readable.
  • Using eye catching headlines and sub-headlines - just like a subject line for emails or slogans of any TV media ad, headlines of press releases should invite visitors to read it. Do not write headlines that would only fit keywords, but something that can pop imagination and attention.
Using a press release can simplify the process of advertising and promoting business products and services into popular search engines like Google. It is one online strategy that businesses should grab not only because of their free services, but because it has been proven as an effective consumer communication tool to attract potential customers and thereby gain more business revenue.

Craig Corbel is the Vice President of Marketing for Solution Web Designs, a turnkey web design and marketing company for small to mid-sized business.

Additional Resources