HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing http://www.hostgator.com/blog The Official HostGator Company Blog Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:43:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Small Business Tips For Improving Customer Loyalty http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/30/small-business-tips-for-improving-customer-loyalty/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/30/small-business-tips-for-improving-customer-loyalty/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:43:35 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9932 The post Small Business Tips For Improving Customer Loyalty appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Living in a city built around a tourism based economy has shown me the businesses who survive aren’t those with the best marketing strategy, but those who have managed to retain loyal customers, both local and returning visitors, throughout every season of the year.
The feeling a customer gets coming back to the business often means more than the quality of the service being offered. For instance, one of the most popular coffee shops in my town thrives due largely in part to offering a location in which people want to be seen. As a self-proclaimed coffee critique I can tell you the difference in product would not be enough to create this much separation in popularity. The trick is in the x-factor, in this case providing a hub in which people can see friends, come to get work done, and really gain a secondary experience through visiting the business altogether.
However, earning the adoration of customers is easier said than done. Like any metric in business it involves a variety of factors, a lot of which boil down to good customer service and unique products of high quality. Small businesses are making a come back, and if yours is to contend ...

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The post Small Business Tips For Improving Customer Loyalty appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Small Business Tips For Improving Customer Loyalty

Living in a city built around a tourism based economy has shown me the businesses who survive aren’t those with the best marketing strategy, but those who have managed to retain loyal customers, both local and returning visitors, throughout every season of the year.

The feeling a customer gets coming back to the business often means more than the quality of the service being offered. For instance, one of the most popular coffee shops in my town thrives due largely in part to offering a location in which people want to be seen. As a self-proclaimed coffee critique I can tell you the difference in product would not be enough to create this much separation in popularity. The trick is in the x-factor, in this case providing a hub in which people can see friends, come to get work done, and really gain a secondary experience through visiting the business altogether.

However, earning the adoration of customers is easier said than done. Like any metric in business it involves a variety of factors, a lot of which boil down to good customer service and unique products of high quality. Small businesses are making a come back, and if yours is to contend in the realm of people defining themselves through brands and products it’s important to start gaining customer loyalty right now.

Here are some great tips to get you started.

 

Focus On Your Most Valuable Customers

Value can be a subjective term, but in this regard a valuable customer should be measured strictly on what they offer your business financially. Think of those who have recurrent faces first, the ones that are consistently coming back to your business and providing regular revenue. I like to think of these customers as ‘buffers’ because in times when business is slow they provide the difference between a strong month or just barely making it.

Financial value may be variant depending on what you’re selling, also. A coffee house may have valued customers based on them appearing most mornings for a cheap cup of coffee; a painting business on the other hand may have a most valued customer just by getting a couple gigs a year. In either circumstance both add up to lifetime value and your energy and attention needs to cater to those already serving your success.

Taking the time to show appreciation and remembrance for their regular support also turns into referrals as word of mouth, which is the most valuable form of marketing.

 

Invest In Your Customers Loyalty

While this is an old trick, providing reward incentives has proven to be one of the most effective ways to bring customers back in times when they have options for products. Large companies like Safeway have advanced rewards programs by offering discounts on gasoline when you spend money in their grocery outlets.

Many unit based businesses will offer frequent shopper cards, on which you’ll receive a free product after so many purchases. I know when I’m hungry I’ll tend to see if I have any punch cards in my wallet knowing my purchase will be even more valuable later.

 

Listen To Their Feedback and Actually Make Changes

This one can be tricky depending on how you’re choosing to receive feedback. Less than 5% of customers will respond to surveys when sent out via email, or posted on Social Media. Rather, take the time to scour sites on the Internet where reviews have already been posted, and take action to improve areas that seem to have recurring complaints or suggestions. Not every gripe has to do with the integrity of your business, but more often than not there’s areas of your regular operation that go unnoticed to staff and employees.

What I like to call a two-for-one is putting a survey on the receipt and offering a small discount on the customers next purchase just for returning the survey. Let the customer know you want to hear from them personally and that their return is extremely valuable, because it is!

 

Meaningful Customer Service

Do you ever feel like certain customer service requirements are a little overboard? Perhaps less genuine even?

Part of gaining a customers loyalty is making them feel a sense of personal connection to your business and that their time spent there is with recognition. Many small businesses put emphasis on employees learning their frequent customer’s names, along with encouraging conversations that contain more depth than just asking how their day is going. Humans crave attention, even if that’s coming from someone who only knows them in one environment.

As your business becomes more well known, try employing these tactics to ensure your product or service means more than just business as usual. Working to gain your customers loyalty will add up to more than just dollar signs for you, it will make your business meaningful to the lives of others which is a great feeling.

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How To Use Landing Pages To Increase Your Website’s Conversions http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/28/how-to-use-landing-pages-to-increase-your-websites-conversions/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/28/how-to-use-landing-pages-to-increase-your-websites-conversions/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:51:11 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9926 The post How To Use Landing Pages To Increase Your Website’s Conversions appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Creating a landing page that works is easy, but creating a landing page that converts is going to take a little bit more work.
In this post we’re going to examine what a landing page actually is, and how to build one that speaks to your customers and converts.
 
What Is A Landing Page?
A landing page is a page that your users are going to land on from some traffic source across the internet. This could either be from a social media post, a guest blog, or an ad.
Landing pages are specialized pages that are designed to get your users to take action. Most unnecessary elements are cut out and the focus is appealing to the user so they’ll act on your call-to-action.
Landing pages will help to educate your customers and turn them from window-shoppers to potentially paying customers.
 
Building A High Converting Landing Page
Creating a landing page is simple. Most website templates have the ability to select a ‘landing page’ layout which will create a very simple page for you.
The layout is easy; the real work comes from the copy, the media, and any other page elements.
 
1. Enticing Headline
Right from the get go, you need to capture the essence ...

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The post How To Use Landing Pages To Increase Your Website’s Conversions appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

landing pages

Creating a landing page that works is easy, but creating a landing page that converts is going to take a little bit more work.

In this post we’re going to examine what a landing page actually is, and how to build one that speaks to your customers and converts.

 

What Is A Landing Page?

A landing page is a page that your users are going to land on from some traffic source across the internet. This could either be from a social media post, a guest blog, or an ad.
Landing pages are specialized pages that are designed to get your users to take action. Most unnecessary elements are cut out and the focus is appealing to the user so they’ll act on your call-to-action.

Landing pages will help to educate your customers and turn them from window-shoppers to potentially paying customers.

 

Building A High Converting Landing Page

Creating a landing page is simple. Most website templates have the ability to select a ‘landing page’ layout which will create a very simple page for you.

The layout is easy; the real work comes from the copy, the media, and any other page elements.

 
1. Enticing Headline
Right from the get go, you need to capture the essence of your landing page with a headline that gets users to keep on reading. Your headline needs to sum up what your page is about, as well as create some emotional tension so the visitor will continue to read to the bottom of the page.

 
2. Create A Sense Of Urgency
You can create landing page urgency through a variety of methods. One way is by having a countdown timer, or having your offer expire after a set amount of time. Another method is to limited your downloads or sign-ups to a certain number.

This sense of urgency will encourage the user to act quickly.

 
3. Build Trust Through Credibility
You can showcase your credibility in many ways. One of the most common is through showcasing testimonials from past clients and customers. Another common means is to highlight endorsements from other business-owners in your niche.

You can even highlight your credibility by displaying your number of social media followers, or subscribers if the number is high enough.

 
4. Inspiring Call-to-Action
If people make it to the bottom of your website then you need a call-to-action that inspires them to take action. Most calls-to-action are displayed as buttons, so you’ll want this button to stand out, and be clear and action-oriented.

Also, make sure your call-to-action only has a singular course of action.

 
5. Test And Refine
The first time you build your landing page you’re going to be guessing based upon past interactions with clients, and your own intuition. By tracking and testing small variables on your landing page you’ll start to build a higher-converting landing page over time.

When you’re testing make sure to only isolate and test a single element at time. It may take longer this way, but it’s the only way to ensure you know what is and isn’t working.

Over time, with the data you collect it will be much easier to design a high-converting landing page the first go-around.

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3 Ways To Acquire Funding For Your Next Business Idea http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/23/3-ways-to-acquire-funding-for-your-next-business-idea/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/23/3-ways-to-acquire-funding-for-your-next-business-idea/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:10:09 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9916 The post 3 Ways To Acquire Funding For Your Next Business Idea appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Starting a business based on an idea that you think could improve the lives of others is a very exciting, yet difficult, task to embark on. With several hundred million companies already built by enthusiastic people such as yourself, the question of whether my idea is good enough is definitely a burning one.
All questions aside, there is still the need to decide upon the business strategy, and more importantly — how the new business is going to be funded. Will you have to sell your car? Get a mortgage loan? Invest all your life’s savings? None of these would be a first for many other people, but thanks to the rapid growth of industries such as startups, small business, and crowdfunding — there’s now an opportunity for anyone to become a business owner, given that their ideas is good, and could potentially stick.
It certainly can save you from a potential disaster, and there are several other advantages of reaching out to other establishments for an investment plan that could get your idea off from the paper and out in the real world.
 
1. Bootstrapping
This is a classic technique for raising money for a new business idea, and is considered one of ...

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The post 3 Ways To Acquire Funding For Your Next Business Idea appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

3 Ways to Acquire Funding for Your Next Business Idea

Starting a business based on an idea that you think could improve the lives of others is a very exciting, yet difficult, task to embark on. With several hundred million companies already built by enthusiastic people such as yourself, the question of whether my idea is good enough is definitely a burning one.

All questions aside, there is still the need to decide upon the business strategy, and more importantly — how the new business is going to be funded. Will you have to sell your car? Get a mortgage loan? Invest all your life’s savings? None of these would be a first for many other people, but thanks to the rapid growth of industries such as startups, small business, and crowdfunding — there’s now an opportunity for anyone to become a business owner, given that their ideas is good, and could potentially stick.

It certainly can save you from a potential disaster, and there are several other advantages of reaching out to other establishments for an investment plan that could get your idea off from the paper and out in the real world.

 

1. Bootstrapping

This is a classic technique for raising money for a new business idea, and is considered one of the safest ones. The way bootstrapping works is that you mostly do all of the work yourself, so this is the one way of acquriing funding where you actually have to put your skills and knowledge to work for you. Some of these may include:

  • Writing technical content for sites that resonate with your idea.
  • Using your design skills to freelance, help out other businesses.
  • Establishing an early online merchandise store to sell items like shirts, stickers, etc,.
  • Getting heavily involved in social media around the networks that resonate with your idea.

It’s all the basic stuff, it certainly is going to be a lot tougher, but in the end you call feel good about yourself — knowing that all the funding was acquiring thanks to your own set of skills, and you don’t have to answer to anyone about losing some here and there.

We recommend that you check out Jon Yongfook’s story of bootstrapping his startup, and how he was able to do it. Getting the initial funds is only half the battle, not paying yourself for several months is something completely different. Jon explains that in his report beautifully.

 

2. Crowdfunding

The second best way of getting that initial funding is by launching your business through a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, or Indiegogo. A crowdfunding platform takes away all of the strain of having to raise money through your own skillset, and instead you can focus on promotional and marketing campaigns to make sure that your project does get funded in the end. The biggest advantage here is that you also build a community around the business you’re trying to launch, giving you the initial customers without having to do much else — and we have seen some great success stories with this type of funding before.

Kickstarter constantly update their data and the amount of completed projects would scare most banks. They are upfront about their fee, it is 5 percent if you are successful.There are many other crowd funding options now that Kickstarter have blazed a trail. They include crowdcube and Seedrs. Transparency and building a community are the main benefits the negatives are that you might have a large number of investors. — Elaine Thompson

 

3. Angel Investors

These are the guys who have several decades (most often) of experience in a particular field, they’ve made their money from creating their own businesses in the past, and have moved on to helping others to do the same by funding their projects. Ideally, you want to reach out to an Angel Investor once you’ve exhausted all your personal resources, such as friends, relatives and other connections.

Getting funding from angel investors isn’t easy, but it can be done if you take the right approach and are a good match with their interests. And the benefits can beyond the money for your business, but their expertise in both in business operations and your industry niche. — WSJ

However, no Angel Investor is going to write you a check just because you ask. You have to come prepared, and by prepared we mean full market research, a strategic business plan, and already established progress on trying to get the business off the ground. And because an Angel Investor is giving you his own money from his own pocket — expect this process to take several weeks, up to several months to get a clearance for the check; nobody wants to invest in something that won’t turn profit at some point of its development.

 

What else?

Other than what we have looked at already, there are government grants, banking loans, even startup incubators — which are usually aimed at people who are really up to par with the latest development in their industry, and are willing to invest the next few years of their life in building an idea. Entrepreneur magazine has a special sub-section of their site where they talk all about raising funds, and we highly recommend to indulge in that content as it will be invaluable to getting your idea funded.

 

*****

Alex Ivanovs is an online entrepreneur who has been writing about technology, business and developer topics for over a decade. He currently manages CodeCondo — an aspiring community for designers and developers.

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The One Thing You Should Do to Get More Out of Your Email List http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/22/the-one-thing-you-should-do-to-get-more-out-of-your-email-list/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/22/the-one-thing-you-should-do-to-get-more-out-of-your-email-list/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 06:30:30 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9815 The post The One Thing You Should Do to Get More Out of Your Email List appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Let’s start off with a tough reality — most business owners aren’t getting as much as they could be from their email list.
It’s not that they’re not working hard or seeing good results. In fact, for many, email is already their biggest driver of new and repeat business.
But there’s one thing that many small businesses aren’t doing that could help take things to the next level.
Luckily, adding that one thing to your email marketing strategy is a lot easier than you might think.
It starts with understanding a term you may have heard before — segmentation.
Segmentation is the process of organizing your contacts into different groups, so you can target them with content or offers that are relevant to their needs or interests.
Rather than sending the same message to your entire list and hoping the right people see it, segmentation makes it easy to create emails that you know specific groups of contacts will be interested in — improving the chances of them opening, clicking, and acting on the content and offers you send out.
 
Why Is Segmentation Important?
One of the biggest reasons people ignore emails or unsubscribe from email lists is because the content they receive isn’t relevant to them.
While you ...

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The post The One Thing You Should Do to Get More Out of Your Email List appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

How to Get More from Your Email List

Let’s start off with a tough reality — most business owners aren’t getting as much as they could be from their email list.

It’s not that they’re not working hard or seeing good results. In fact, for many, email is already their biggest driver of new and repeat business.

But there’s one thing that many small businesses aren’t doing that could help take things to the next level.

Luckily, adding that one thing to your email marketing strategy is a lot easier than you might think.

It starts with understanding a term you may have heard before — segmentation.

Segmentation is the process of organizing your contacts into different groups, so you can target them with content or offers that are relevant to their needs or interests.

Rather than sending the same message to your entire list and hoping the right people see it, segmentation makes it easy to create emails that you know specific groups of contacts will be interested in — improving the chances of them opening, clicking, and acting on the content and offers you send out.

 

Why Is Segmentation Important?

One of the biggest reasons people ignore emails or unsubscribe from email lists is because the content they receive isn’t relevant to them.

While you may have people who read and act on every email you send out, if you’re not taking the appropriate steps to segment your audience, it’s likely that you already have potential customers or donors who are tuning you out.

Plenty of small businesses and organizations are already using segmentations and have seen some impressive results. See for yourself.

 
If you’ve never segmented your list — one of the questions you may be asking is “how can I get started?”

 
Using an email marketing provider like Constant Contact makes it super easy to segment your contacts.

You can create separate lists for different groups of contacts, or use a feature called Tags that makes organizing your master list a lot easier.

But before you can start organizing contacts into different groups, you’re going to need some information to work with.

If you’re like a lot of businesses, the amount of information you have available may be limited to name and email address.

But there are also details like: job title, company, address, birthday, interests, and purchase history, which could be used to your advantage.

How can you find the information you need? Here are a few quick ideas:

  • Use what you know: Even if you don’t have a ton of information about your contacts, you should be able to quickly scan your list and recognize a handful of names. You can add a tag for VIPs, or create a separate list and send them exclusive offers to reward them for their loyalty.
  • Update your sign-up process: While you may only want to require people to give their name and email address, you can also add optional fields like address or company name.
  • Use a survey: An online surveyis a quick and efficient way to collect information from your email contacts. You can provide multiple choice questions to help gauge people’s interest around a particular product or service, and can also provide open-ended questions for people to fill out their own information.
  • Host an event: Collect information when interacting with attendees face-to-face, and also use an online registration toolto collect important details before the event.
  • Use your reports: Use your email reports to see which contacts are opening your emails each month, and export a list of people who have clicked on a particular link. This is a great way to identify your most active readers, and can also be used to learn more about the content or products your audience is most interested in.

 
With the right information, you’ll be ready to start segmenting your list!

Take some time to think about the different groups of contacts you have on your list.

Consider things like:

  • Location: Do you have groups of contacts that live locally and others that visit from out of state?
  • Customer Status: A lot of the people on your list will be customers, but you may also have a sizeable audience of potential or new customers, as well.
  • Interests: Use your click-through data to create interest-based lists.
  • Questions/Needs: Use survey data or questions you’ve received in-person to group contacts, and follow up with more information.
  • Length of time on your list: Creating a separate list for new contacts, and sending them a few introductory messages, is a great way to engage people right from the start.

 
There are plenty of ways you can use segmentation to get more from your list.

Remember that growing an effective email list isn’t just about adding names and email addresses to your database.

These are people who have opted-in to receive updates from your business. It’s your responsibility to offer an experience that meets their needs and inspires them to take action.

Get started today! Constant Contact has the tools you need to manage your growing contact list.

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How To Make Your Brand Matter http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/21/how-to-make-your-brand-matter/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/21/how-to-make-your-brand-matter/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:38:46 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9910 The post How To Make Your Brand Matter appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

You can either look at branding as a buzzword, or something very valuable for the continued success of your business. For the sake of this post we’re going to investigate the latter definition.
Every company has a brand whether they’re aware of it or not. However, not every company has a brand that matters. In this post we’re going to examine what makes brands matter and how to transform your brand from boring to brilliant.
 
What Is A Brand?
The moment a person thinks about your brand the feelings they feel, or the thoughts they think are the backbone of your brand. Your brand extends way beyond your logo and what font you use on your website.
Think of Apple. The moment you think about their company, or hold on of their devices in your hand you automatically think about simplicity, sleek design, attention to detail and beauty.
What kind of feelings do you make your customers feel?
Sadly, most brands aren’t making their customers feel anything. Most brand are bland and don’t inspire action in one direction or another. The worst feeling your customers can feel when interacting with you is ambivalence.
In another way you can think of your brand as the ...

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The post How To Make Your Brand Matter appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

make your brand matter

You can either look at branding as a buzzword, or something very valuable for the continued success of your business. For the sake of this post we’re going to investigate the latter definition.

Every company has a brand whether they’re aware of it or not. However, not every company has a brand that matters. In this post we’re going to examine what makes brands matter and how to transform your brand from boring to brilliant.

 

What Is A Brand?

The moment a person thinks about your brand the feelings they feel, or the thoughts they think are the backbone of your brand. Your brand extends way beyond your logo and what font you use on your website.
Think of Apple. The moment you think about their company, or hold on of their devices in your hand you automatically think about simplicity, sleek design, attention to detail and beauty.

What kind of feelings do you make your customers feel?

Sadly, most brands aren’t making their customers feel anything. Most brand are bland and don’t inspire action in one direction or another. The worst feeling your customers can feel when interacting with you is ambivalence.

In another way you can think of your brand as the experience you deliver to your users.

 

Make Your Brand Matter

How do you exactly engineer a brand that makes people stop in their tracks? It takes more than a fancy website and sleek logo. It takes asking the right questions to get to the center of why you do the work you do, and what it looks like.

1. Why Are You Different
Different is good. People have more choices than ever. By trying to cater to every style of customer you end up appealing to no one. By taking a stand about what you believe in you can create a brand that others believe in as well.

This goes in line with what makes you different. Why would a customer choose you over the competition?

2. Discover Your Values
Your company values run deeper than your products and services. Your values are your core reasons for doing business in the first place. Why are you doing what you do?

Is it for freedom, for love, or for making a difference in the world?

Patagonia has a deep environmental ethic that runs throughout their entire business. As a result, every aspect of their business caters to this ethos. From their website, to their products, to their images and even storefronts.

3. How Will You Communicate This?
In what style will you communicate this message? Will you be stylish and clean, or brash and crude?
Whatever you choose is up to you. But, it will come across in your web copy, your overall design and how you interact with your customers.

Building a brand that people care about takes time. It takes being honest, and it takes brining every aspect of your business into alignment. However, the results are well worth-it. By building a brand that matters you’ll start to cultivate passionate brand evangelists who will do most of your marketing for you.

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Why Small Businesses Need To Have (and Grow) An Email List http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/15/why-small-businesses-need-to-have-and-grow-an-email-list/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/15/why-small-businesses-need-to-have-and-grow-an-email-list/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 05:02:18 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9835 The post Why Small Businesses Need To Have (and Grow) An Email List appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

You already have an audience for your business.
When you have events, people show up. When you hold a sale or introduce a new product, people are there to buy. And when you open your doors each morning, you know you won’t be spending the day alone.
Your phone rings, your website gets traffic, and over time your business grows.
But if you’re not giving this audience a way to stay connected with you when they’re away from your business — you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to build relationships with these customers and accelerate the growth your business can achieve by driving action around the things you’re already doing.
 
Social Media Alone Isn’t Enough
Sure, you could set up a Facebook Page or get started on Twitter but at the end of the day you don’t really own those contacts — you’re renting them. You can put days, weeks, and months into building a fanbase, but if one day Facebook decides to limit your ability to deliver your message, you’ll be no better off than when you started.
On the flipside, by growing your email list, you’ll be able to take control of your message and communicate with your audience on your own terms. You’ll be giving the people who ...

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The post Why Small Businesses Need To Have (and Grow) An Email List appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Why Small Businesses Need to Have and Grow Their Email List

You already have an audience for your business.

When you have events, people show up. When you hold a sale or introduce a new product, people are there to buy. And when you open your doors each morning, you know you won’t be spending the day alone.

Your phone rings, your website gets traffic, and over time your business grows.

But if you’re not giving this audience a way to stay connected with you when they’re away from your business — you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to build relationships with these customers and accelerate the growth your business can achieve by driving action around the things you’re already doing.

 

Social Media Alone Isn’t Enough


Sure, you could set up a Facebook Page or get started on Twitter but at the end of the day you don’t really own those contacts — you’re renting them. You can put days, weeks, and months into building a fanbase, but if one day Facebook decides to limit your ability to deliver your message, you’ll be no better off than when you started.

On the flipside, by growing your email list, you’ll be able to take control of your message and communicate with your audience on your own terms. You’ll be giving the people who are actually interested in attending your events, buying your products, or signing up for services the ability to opt-in to receive information that’s relevant to them.

And because you know the information is delivered to a place where your customers are going everyday — the inbox — you know your message is reaching your target audience.

That’s what growing your contact list can do for your small business. And that’s the best case for why small businesses should consider email marketing.

 

Not Sure Where To Start When Growing Your List?

Growing your list really breaks down to two things: covering your touch points and remembering to ask.

Make it easy for people to sign up for your mailing list at all the places people are interacting with your business.

This includes:

  • Online: Add a sign-up form to your website to capture new visitors who may not be ready to buy. You should also use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to encourage fans and followers to join your email list.
  • In-store: Place a paper sign-up sheet on your counter and ask people to share their name and email address. Email marketing solutions like Constant Contact also offer integrations with many business management and POS providers to automatically add new customers to your email marketing database.
  • At events: Use a tablet to allow event attendees to join your email list on their own at events and other networking activities.

 
Covering your touch points will guarantee your audience will grow and won’t require much heavy lifting from you or your staff.

 

You Also Need To Make Sure You’re Asking People To Sign Up.


Most of the people who walk through your door, call your business, or connect with you on sites like Facebook or Twitter will be happy to hear more about your business — all you need to do is ask!

Make sure people understand what they are signing up for when they join your email list. What type of information will they receive? How often will they hear from you? What have other people enjoyed about receiving your emails? Use this information to set expectations early and make sure you’re following through.

To encourage them even further, you can provide an additional incentive for signing up.

In some cases, that incentive will be a monetary discount or free giveaway. But you can also use other types of offers like a free download or access to an upcoming event to encourage people to share their email address.

 

Get Started!

Write down a list of all the places you’re already interacting with current and potential customers.

Are you making it easy for people to join your list at all of these touch points? Have you clearly stated the benefits of signing up?

With a few simple steps, you’ll be able to capture new email contacts without putting any additional stress on your staff or your budget.

Constant Contact has all the tools you need to grow your email list. Start your free 60-day trial today.

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Top 4 Free WordPress Plugins For Bloggers http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/13/top-4-free-wordpress-plugins-for-bloggers/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/13/top-4-free-wordpress-plugins-for-bloggers/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 17:32:40 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9878 The post Top 4 Free WordPress Plugins For Bloggers appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

How many plugins are available to WordPress users?
A recent count put the number at nearly 40,000 plugins, most of them free. That places an astounding array of functionality at the fingertips of WordPress users.
But not all plugins are created equal. Some are of more universal value than others. And while value is in the eye of the user, the Huffington Post recently published their take on the top 5 free WordPress plugins:
 
#1: Pretty Link
Pretty Link helps you to “shrink, beautify, track, manage and share any URL on or off of your WordPress website.” It’s an elegant method of directing traffic to other sites as desired, or to other pages within your site.
Both free versions and paid versions of the Pretty Link plugin are available.
 
#2: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an invaluable, free tool for measuring, tracking, and tweaking the performance of your website. And the Google Analytics plugin by Yoast makes it super simple to install GA on your WordPress site.
This free plugin will deliver all of the benefits of GA, and has been installed on more than one million sites. And if you want some help with making the most of Google Analytics, there’s also a premium version of this ...

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The post Top 4 Free WordPress Plugins For Bloggers appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

wordpress plugins

How many plugins are available to WordPress users?

A recent count put the number at nearly 40,000 plugins, most of them free. That places an astounding array of functionality at the fingertips of WordPress users.

But not all plugins are created equal. Some are of more universal value than others. And while value is in the eye of the user, the Huffington Post recently published their take on the top 5 free WordPress plugins:

 

#1: Pretty Link

Pretty Link helps you to “shrink, beautify, track, manage and share any URL on or off of your WordPress website.” It’s an elegant method of directing traffic to other sites as desired, or to other pages within your site.

Both free versions and paid versions of the Pretty Link plugin are available.

 

#2: Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an invaluable, free tool for measuring, tracking, and tweaking the performance of your website. And the Google Analytics plugin by Yoast makes it super simple to install GA on your WordPress site.

This free plugin will deliver all of the benefits of GA, and has been installed on more than one million sites. And if you want some help with making the most of Google Analytics, there’s also a premium version of this plugin available.

 

#3: WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress is a great content management platform for search engine optimization. But the Yoast plugin for SEO builds upon WordPress’ compatibility with SEO.

SEO is a constantly moving target. And staying in the good graces of the search engines requires great expertise – or the Yoast plugin. This plugin is typically updated several times per year to stay up-to-date with SEO best practices.

 

#4: SumoMe

It’s bad news for a business website when most of the visitors are hit-and-run: they stop in for a brief visit and then flit away, never to return. But each visitor that arrives at your website represents an opportunity to cultivate a relationship, and eventually, a customer. The SumoMe plugin can help you to do that.

SumoMe offers great value both for e-commerce sites and for bloggers.

 

Tip of the Iceberg

With a field nearly 40,000 strong, there are certainly far more than 5 WordPress plugins that offer great value. And while the plugins listed above could be considered must-haves for most business sites, they represent only a tiny portion of a massive group of wonderfully useful plugins.

Not all plugins are great, of course. Many aren’t worth bothering with.

But a fun aspect of managing a WordPress site is browsing through all the plugins available. If there’s a job that needs doing on your WordPress site, odds are good that there’s a great plugin ready to go to work for you – for free.

 

*****

Chris Delker is a freelance copywriter based in Dallas, Texas.

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How To Use Email Marketing To Create And Grow Customer Relationships http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/08/how-to-use-email-marketing-to-create-and-grow-customer-relationships/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/08/how-to-use-email-marketing-to-create-and-grow-customer-relationships/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 06:30:30 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9826 The post How To Use Email Marketing To Create And Grow Customer Relationships appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

When you’re a small business, you have one distinct advantage over the big guys: customer relationships.
Every time you’re talking with a customer in-store, emailing someone who has a question, or answering the phone, you’re building a relationship. It’s almost impossible for bigger companies to establish the same connection with customers (that’s why those that do really stand out).
 
Want The Really Good News?
It’s never been easier to grow the relationships that are so crucial to your business’s success.
Email marketing is a cost-effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place most people visit every day — their inbox. Email makes it easy to build customer relationships because you’re able to stay top-of-mind and build trust and loyalty with the people who matter most to your business.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 66 percent of consumers have made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message (Direct Marketing Association, 2013). Or that email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers (McKinsey, 2014).
With a little bit of planning, you can use email to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. ...

web hosting

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The post How To Use Email Marketing To Create And Grow Customer Relationships appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

How to Use EMM To Create and Grow Relationships

When you’re a small business, you have one distinct advantage over the big guys: customer relationships.

Every time you’re talking with a customer in-store, emailing someone who has a question, or answering the phone, you’re building a relationship. It’s almost impossible for bigger companies to establish the same connection with customers (that’s why those that do really stand out).

 

Want The Really Good News?

It’s never been easier to grow the relationships that are so crucial to your business’s success.

Email marketing is a cost-effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place most people visit every day — their inbox. Email makes it easy to build customer relationships because you’re able to stay top-of-mind and build trust and loyalty with the people who matter most to your business.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 66 percent of consumers have made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message (Direct Marketing Association, 2013). Or that email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers (McKinsey, 2014).

With a little bit of planning, you can use email to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. This will help turn new visitors into loyal customers, and turn new customers into loyal advocates for your business.
Follow this 3 step plan for building long-lasting customer relationships with email marketing.

  1. Ask for permission

Before you add a name to your contact list, ask the customer for permission.

When you ask permission, you’re able to build a list of people who are interested in your business and are excited to hear from you. They’re more likely to open your email, less likely to mark it as spam, and will stay with you longer than contacts that are added without consent.

Permission-based email marketing is the best route to developing long-lasting customer relationships that can drive repeat sales and valuable word-of-mouth for your business. These practices also keep you in compliance with legislation like the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

  1. Treat your email contacts with care

Chances are you already provide a great experience for your customers when you’re face-to-face. Let email marketing extend that experience.

When someone takes that step to subscribe, they’re saying, “I’d like to get to know you better.” They’ve invited you into their inbox. You don’t want to abuse that relationship by constantly promoting your products and services.

Instead of making your newsletter all about you, think about how you can offer your subscribers something of value. Whether you choose to send them useful information or a special offer, having their interests in mind will show you care.

  1. Create a compelling newsletter

You want to create a newsletter with content your subscribers aren’t going to get anywhere else. What this information is depends entirely on your industry, your company goals, and what will move your readers to action.

Think about what your readers will find interesting, useful, or otherwise entertaining. Stuff that could stand on its own even if you had nothing to promote. Encourage subscribers to connect with you beyond your newsletter by linking off to a recent blog post, a useful video, or a social media channel that your business is active on.

 

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Email Marketing Relationships

  • Email marketing allows you to control the message, when it goes out, and who receives it.
  • Subscribers have actively made a decision to give you permission to contact them, which means they’re interested in what you’re offering.
  • You’re able to build stronger relationships with your audience — and people do business with or help people they know, like, and trust.

Put these tips to work!

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a small business owner with little marketing experience, Constant Contact has the easy-to-use tools, KnowHow, and coaches to get you started with email marketing. Best of all you can try it free for 60 days.

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Presenting Optimized WordPress! http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/07/presenting-optimized-wordpress/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/07/presenting-optimized-wordpress/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 14:25:18 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9850 The post Presenting Optimized WordPress! appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

.button {
display: block;
margin: 0 auto;
width: 370px;
height: 55px;
font: 700 24px/50px "Trebuchet MS", Arial;
text-align: center;
color: #1f1f1f;
background: url(http://www.hostgator.com/blog/~/tmp/wp-uploads/2015/02/button.png);
}
.button:hover {
background-position: 0 -55px;
}

We are extremely happy to announce the launch of our Optimized WordPress hosting platform! WordPress is, quite frankly, one of the best back-ends for your website, period. This very blog you are reading runs on WordPress, and so do the websites for CNN, Forbes, and even Justin Beiber.
We are experts on WordPress, and we’ve created a hosting package that we believe will actually simplify your life and allow you to focus on your business instead of on the management of your website.
Optimized WordPress begins with a custom caching and global content delivery network (CDN), which allows for blazing fast page loads from anywhere int he world. You have access to premium WP themes in order to customize the look and feel of your site. We then pre-configure your WordPress install with the ideal suite of plugins to provide the perfect mix ...

web hosting

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The post Presenting Optimized WordPress! appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Optimized-WordPress

We are extremely happy to announce the launch of our Optimized WordPress hosting platform! WordPress is, quite frankly, one of the best back-ends for your website, period. This very blog you are reading runs on WordPress, and so do the websites for CNN, Forbes, and even Justin Beiber.

We are experts on WordPress, and we’ve created a hosting package that we believe will actually simplify your life and allow you to focus on your business instead of on the management of your website.

Optimized WordPress begins with a custom caching and global content delivery network (CDN), which allows for blazing fast page loads from anywhere int he world. You have access to premium WP themes in order to customize the look and feel of your site. We then pre-configure your WordPress install with the ideal suite of plugins to provide the perfect mix of additional features, including Google Analytics!

We took everything a step further by also including industry-standard security features, daily malware scans and automatic malware removal, as well as automatic off-site backups (including one-click restores).

We started with the idea of how to simplify your hosting experience so that you could instead spend your valuable time on your business or actual website content, and after months of development and testing, we are now proudly presenting Optimized WordPress hosting. There’s many more features including in this great offering, you can find out the full information by simply clicking the button below:

 

Get Optimized WordPress!

 

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6 Steps to Making Your WordPress Site Mobile-Friendly http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/01/6-steps-to-making-your-wordpress-site-mobile-friendly/ http://www.hostgator.com/blog/2015/07/01/6-steps-to-making-your-wordpress-site-mobile-friendly/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:36:03 +0000 http://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=9840 The post 6 Steps to Making Your WordPress Site Mobile-Friendly appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

The world is going mobile. And quickly. In 2014, for the first time ever, mobile devices were used to access the Internet more often than PCs. It was a landmark occurrence. A game changer.
And yet many businesses continue to pay little attention to the mobile-friendliness of their websites. But Google is paying very close attention.
In fact, if your business website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can expect Google to be giving you the cold shoulder in search engine rankings. As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, Google has begun favoring mobile-friendly sites, and penalizing sites that are less mobile-friendly.
So if your business WordPress site isn’t mobile-friendly, making it so should probably be bumped up in priority on your to-do list. Tech.co recently published a 6-step process for making your site mobile-friendly.
 
Step 1: Choose Your Hosting Service Carefully
Any mobile-friendly changes you make to your site could be for naught if your hosting company provides slow and unreliable service. Pennies saved in choosing the cheapest hosting services available may turn out to be quite expensive in the long run.
 
Step 2: Choose a Mobile-Friendly WordPress Theme
The WordPress theme you choose serves as both the foundation and framework of your website. What type of theme ...

web hosting

]]>
The post 6 Steps to Making Your WordPress Site Mobile-Friendly appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing.

Mobile Friendly WordPress

The world is going mobile. And quickly. In 2014, for the first time ever, mobile devices were used to access the Internet more often than PCs. It was a landmark occurrence. A game changer.

And yet many businesses continue to pay little attention to the mobile-friendliness of their websites. But Google is paying very close attention.

In fact, if your business website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can expect Google to be giving you the cold shoulder in search engine rankings. As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, Google has begun favoring mobile-friendly sites, and penalizing sites that are less mobile-friendly.

So if your business WordPress site isn’t mobile-friendly, making it so should probably be bumped up in priority on your to-do list. Tech.co recently published a 6-step process for making your site mobile-friendly.

 

Step 1: Choose Your Hosting Service Carefully

Any mobile-friendly changes you make to your site could be for naught if your hosting company provides slow and unreliable service. Pennies saved in choosing the cheapest hosting services available may turn out to be quite expensive in the long run.

 

Step 2: Choose a Mobile-Friendly WordPress Theme

The WordPress theme you choose serves as both the foundation and framework of your website. What type of theme is mobile-friendly? A fast theme. Loading speed is a key factor in making a site mobile-friendly, so a fast-loading, responsive theme is ideal.

Look for themes that have been tagged as having a “responsive layout.”

 

Step 3: Customize Your Content

Structuring your content to be mobile-friendly is critical. What defines “mobile-friendliness” when it comes to content? In general, your content should be easy to view on small screens, and should be “finger-friendly” – easy to navigate by touch.

Here are a few specific tips for making content mobile-friendly:

  • Larger font sizes are better than smaller
  • Buttons should be large in size, and isolated enough to easily tap with a fingertip without inadvertently hitting something else
  • Lots of whitespace
  • Short headlines
  • Make content scannable: break text into lots of subsections with subtitles
  • Position the most important info on a web page close to the top

 

Step 4: Manage Plugins

One of the great advantages WordPress offers is the wealth of plugins that are available. But plugins are so easy to add that website owners often end up with quite a collection. The result is that sites are often burdened with a number of plugins that aren’t really needed or useful.

A proliferation of plugins can contribute to performance issues that can make your site less mobile-friendly. So stay on top of the plugins you’ve added to your site. Prune away those that aren’t really contributing to your site. And make certain that the plugins you use are kept up-to-date with the latest versions.

 

Step 5: Optimize Images

Images are an important component of your website’s content. But they can significantly slow the load time of your site, making it less mobile-friendly. You can help to counteract that problem by using plugins that work to optimize the loading of images.

Some plugins worth considering for this purpose include:

  • Image Pro
  • CW Image Optimizer
  • Imsanity
  • Hammy
  • EWWW Image Optimizer
  • PB Responsive Images

 

Step 6: Test

Once you’ve optimized your site to be mobile-friendly, test it. See how it performs on your own mobile devices. Does it load fast? Is it easy to navigate via touch screen? Does the text fit the screen?

The greater the variety of mobile devices you can use in testing your site, the better. Ask friends and family to also check out your site on their devices. And be sure to find out whether your site rates a mobile-friendly thumbs-up from Google. You can easily use Google’s testing tool to evaluate your site for free.

 

Worth the Effort

It can be a bit of a chore to make certain that your site is mobile-friendly. But it’s worth the effort. Doing so will help to assure that your site ranks as highly as possible in search engine results. And making your site comfortable and easy-to-use for mobile visitors will help to keep them on your site longer.

But most importantly, making your site mobile-friendly will make your site accessible to a huge audience. By 2017, nearly 70% of the world’s population is expected to be able to access the Internet via smartphones.

That’s a pretty sizable potential audience for your business. Or not – depending upon the mobile-friendliness of your site.

 

*****

Chris Delker is a freelance copywriter based in Dallas, Texas.

web hosting

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