Shayla Price – HostGator Blog Web Hosting and Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs Mon, 17 Sep 2018 20:01:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 151369968 5 Tips to Get More Guest Blog Posts for Your Site Wed, 01 Aug 2018 22:39:39 +0000 The post 5 Tips to Get More Guest Blog Posts for Your Site appeared first on HostGator Blog.

5 Tips to Get More Guest Blog Posts for Your Site By accepting guest posts, your brand draws new attention...

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5 Tips to Get More Guest Blog Posts for Your Site

By accepting guest posts, your brand draws new attention to your site.

Guest posting adds a variety of content to your blog and helps you develop meaningful relationships with bloggers. It is also an avenue to drive traffic and keep your readers engaged.

“In an era where reputation is everything, it’s incredibly useful to build a network of trusted writers to verify each other’s legitimacy in a given field…When a guest author posts on your site, the author is implicitly agreeing that you’re an authoritative source,” states Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers.

Are you ready to get more guest blog posts? Here are five tips to get you started.

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1. Write a Guest Blog Page

Information is important in our society of technology. Knowing about opportunities empowers people to take action. Your company can attract more guest bloggers by merely announcing your interest.

Start by writing a guest blog page. You’ll want to include all your guidelines for submitting a post. State the desired topics, word count, sources, and other standards. Don’t shy away from giving writers every crucial detail.

By doing so, you set expectations for your content. Bloggers will appreciate the value you place on high-quality writing. It makes getting their blog post accepted a badge of honor, rather than an item to complete on a long to-do list.

In some instances, it may be helpful to include the entire submission process. Check out this example from Entrepreneur below.

guest blog contributor guidelines

You’ll want to convey to writers the benefits of guest blogging on your site. Will they get featured in your exclusive email list? Or will they receive a small financial reward? Be sure to list all the advantages on your guest blog page.

And of course, it wouldn’t hurt to mention all the notable bloggers who’ve already published on your site. This social proof will persuade bloggers to send in their submissions.

Be honest and specific on your guest blog page. It’s the first step to receiving superb content from writers.


2. Give Guest Bloggers Credit

Online communities rely on developing quality relationships with individuals. It’s an ongoing give-and-take bond amongst content creators. So, it’s vital that your business shows goodwill too.

“Bloggers make up a large percentage of conversations happening on the Internet, especially on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. They can be tremendously influential. Which makes them good friends to have,” says best-selling author Jeff Goins.

For writers, giving credit is one of the simplest things your site can do. Set up your blog to add multiple authors, and then ask bloggers to submit a short bio with their post.

Providing a bio section is also beneficial to the reader. If they enjoy the post, they may want to read more of the person’s content elsewhere.

Plus, it adds humanity to the words. Readers will know that an article wasn’t just pumped out from a content mill; someone actually took deliberate action to write a post to inform or entertain the reader.

Get creative when showcasing your guest bloggers. You can invite them to a Slack community that matches their interests. Or refer bloggers to other brands seeking professional writing services.

Guest blogging is all about highlighting other people’s expertise. By giving credit, you show your company’s appreciation and become a business ally.


3. Add a Guest Post Submission Form

When you’re seeking guest posts, managing the entire process can become difficult. You have to promote an open call, draft a guest page, and sift through all the submissions.

Depending on your brand’s popularity, you may receive a high volume of guest post pitches. And if you’re receiving them all by email that will flood your inbox.

Creating a submission form is one solution to this issue. It’s a convenient way to organize all the pitches. Form tools, like SurveyMonkey and Typeform, let you build custom fields and export data into spreadsheets.

CoSchedule uses a Google form to capture its submissions. They even require guest bloggers to fill out specific information.

guest blog intake form

When crafting your form, you’ll want to ask for links to relevant writing samples and why the blogger wants to publish on your site. It helps to get a sense of the person behind the words.

Remember to keep the form short by limiting your questions. More blogger details mean more unnecessary work.

Don’t bog down your team by accepting guest post pitches via email. You can create a unique submission form to make the process easier.


4. Pay Traffic Bonuses

Money is a motivator for many bloggers. If your site wants to attract the best writers, you may consider offering a few financial incentives.

If the blogger is doing more than just writing, like following specific SEO requirements or adding the content to WordPress, it’s a signal to pay the guest blogger. Susan Gunelius, president & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., gives her perspective:

“The more you expect a blogger to do, the more you can expect to pay that blogger to charge you to write for your business blog. The reason is simple: the more the blogger has to do, the longer it takes her to complete the project, and she should be compensated adequately for her time.”

Financial rewards can take many shapes and forms. You can start with paying traffic bonuses to writers who exceed a particular session goal.

Decide how you will track the traffic, maybe a custom URL. Then, the blogger and you can monitor the results on a designated dashboard on Google Analytics.

With any financial agreement, you’ll want to draft a contract and speak with an attorney. It will save you the hassle if any problems arise in the future.

Sometimes guest bloggers will need more than just exposure. You can up the ante by offering writers a monetary bonus.


5. Promote Guest Posts

Guest posting means nothing if no one gets to read the work. That’s why it’s so essential to promote your blog posts as much as possible.

Depending on your business industry, how you publicize your content will vary. You may need to talk about the post in a community forum or syndicate posts on other brand sites.

It may even be beneficial to enlist the help of an influencer. Well-known industry leaders can instantly spark people’s curiosity and drive traffic to the content.

And don’t forget the power of social media. From Facebook to Instagram, your brand can use these channels to lure in more eyeballs on your guest posts. See below how Prisync promotes on Twitter.


Avoid the desire to splatter your guest posts everywhere. Instead, you want to develop a target strategy. If a post discusses the latest baking techniques, find promotional channels around food and cooking.

Promotion is a two-way street. Before asking bloggers to promote on their marketing channels, it’s key that you take the initiative.

Promote guest posts like any other piece of content. Work with your team to get the most attention from your target audience.


Earn More Guest Post Contributors

Guest posting is beneficial for your brand and readers. It opens the doors to new relationships, while giving your consumers a different perspective.

Ramp up your guest posts by sharing your blogging guidelines. You can entice contributors to participate with financial rewards. And you’ll want to promote guest posts as much as possible.

It’s your turn. Start getting more guest blog posts today.

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.

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5 Excellent Influencer Marketing Ideas for Any E-commerce Store Mon, 28 May 2018 20:43:22 +0000 The post 5 Excellent Influencer Marketing Ideas for Any E-commerce Store appeared first on HostGator Blog.

5 Influencer Marketing Ideas for Your E-commerce Store Influencer marketing is a strategy worth trying for e-commerce stores. With tough...

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5 Influencer Marketing Ideas for Your E-commerce Store

Influencer marketing is a strategy worth trying for e-commerce stores.

With tough competition and a global market, brands are seeking new ways to turn hesitant shoppers into loyal customers. That’s why store owners are investing heavily in influencer marketing.

“Significantly, the success of influencer marketing has occurred not just because of the value it’s shown as a marketing tactic. In fact, research has shown influencer marketing’s effectiveness at meeting a myriad of goals,” states Entrepreneur contributor Kamiu Lee.

There’s more than one way to achieve your business goals with influencer marketing. Here are five tactics to get you started today.

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1. Sponsored Ads

Advertising gets a bad reputation. Consumers usually associate ads as something horrible that companies insist they see.

Rightfully so, considering most ads consist of mind-numbing content. They may convey a subpar product or misinterpret how the consumer relates to the brand. So when consumers think of advertising, they run the opposite direction.

However, you can change consumers’ feelings with influencer marketing. Your audience wants to hear from people they trust and respect in the industry. Influencers bridge the gap between boring ad and amazing content that includes your product.

Nespresso collaborates with Food Feels to show off their coffee machine. This gorgeous picture gives fans an inside look at the product experience. Followers express their love in the comments.

sponsored instagram ad for ecommerce product

There’s a major lesson to learn in sponsored ads. Instead of focusing on your brand and product, gear the conversation toward the customer. It’s one of the most effective ways to gain someone’s attention.

Moreover, ads don’t have to operate in the traditional channels, like television or radio. You can join forces with an influencer and promote your ad online.

Do sponsor ads differently. That’s how you will spark consumer interest.


2. Affiliate Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t always about brand awareness. You want your strategic actions to actually produce sales for your business.

By combining influencer and affiliate marketing, you can build a mutually beneficial relationship with an influencer. The individual can earn cash for every sale they drive to your store.

This partnership ensures you’re not throwing money at a partnership without a measurable goal. Plus, the influencer can rack up more money than a normal contract.

“Custom affiliate links can be generated using an influencer platform, while marketers can choose to add commission to collaborations…[C]ompanies can benefit from the awareness and personal messaging of a pure influencer marketing campaign, while at the same time being able to track the direct revenue that comes with affiliate marketing campaigns,” writes Nicole Michaelis, chief marketing officer at Referanza.

For affiliate marketing to work well, state your expectations up front with influencers. Lay out the process and highlight the commissions for each sale.

Understand that not all influencers will accept your agreement. And that’s okay. Take the time to search for individuals that fit your marketing scheme along with your values.

Affiliate marketing is an effective tool to get business results. Coupled with influencer marketing, you’ll see your bottom line increase. Learn about HostGator’s affiliate marketing program.


3. Influencer Takeovers

Social media has opened the doors for brands to communicate with customers. It’s a channel dedicated to interaction and where influence thrives.

If a consumer has an issue, they can contact your team in a couple of clicks. If you want to highlight your latest product, you can promote it in your feed instantly.

Now, when you add influencers to the mix, you engage in an opportunity to expand your reach and visibility. Social media becomes more than just a broadcast channel; it turns into an engagement channel.

An influencer takeover involves handing your social media controls to an expert in the field who will engage with your audience. The goal is for the individual to add new content and take your fans on a different journey.

In the example below, Brian Fanzo, millennial keynote speaker and change evangelist, did an Instagram takeover on Buffer’s account. He shared advice about social media and community building.

Instagram takeover example for ecommerce b2b brand buffer

For the best results, use your most active social channel for the influencer takeover. That way, you’re connecting with consumers where they enjoy communicating.

You’ll also want to lean on the influencer on what content to produce. Influencers know what they are doing. Try not to stifle their creativity because you can’t fully see the vision.

So, start scouting individuals for your next influencer takeover. Your followers will like the exciting content.


4. In-Person Events

As an e-commerce store, it’s easy to think everything great is happening online. You get stuck in promoting only on the Internet.

Well, there’s a whole world full of consumers engaging with brands offline. From pop-up stores to conferences to VIP catered gatherings, you have the power to attract more consumers.

Use in-person events to invite influencers to share in the experience. With exclusive access, they can bring their following to the event via social media.

“If your event is a food festival, the main social media influencers will probably be on Instagram, posting dramatic pics of sushi and cocktails. If you host a business conference, the biggest names might be on LinkedIn, sharing articles on best practices and business trends,” says Christy Huggins, social media manager at Eventbrite.

The first step is to create an event related to your brand and audience. Don’t try to host a hip-hop music session if it doesn’t match your consumers’ interests.

Next, select influencers who thrive in front and behind the camera. You want someone who can bring the event to life with live commentary on Snapchat or beautiful photos on Instagram.

If you need to hire an event planner, do it. Then, add your influencer to kick it up a notch.


5. Giveaways

Consumers like to participate in chances to win free products. It’s our human nature to want surprises.

Remember when Oprah gave away all those cars? It brought smiles to the recipients and everyone who tuned in to watch the show.

Giveaways are like small packages of hope wrapped up in our favorite products. Sure, your most loyal customers will buy the product regardless. But it’s always cool to think you may win the free item.

Influencers can help you spread the joy of giveaways. You can either tell them to promote on their websites and social channels, or you may even associate their well-known name with the giveaway.

Check out this example from Milk Makeup. The brand partnered with YouTube star and celebrity makeup artist Jkissa to giveaway $600 worth of products.

influencer giveaway on instagram for ecommerce store

In the customer experience, giveaways fall underneath fun ways to connect with buyers. Also, it’s a chance to push product awareness to the forefront.

You’ll want to add your signature product to the giveaway—the one item that all your customers love. Then, you can shower the giveaway with new products or lesser-known items. This strategy lets you highlight other products in your store.

What will make your giveaway stand out? Talk with your team to get ideas that will thrill your audience.


Start Leveraging Influence

Influencer marketing plays an integral role in e-commerce stores. Take advantage of it to expose your products to the right audience.

Experiment with sponsored ads to leverage an influencer’s following. Host a takeover giving an influencer full access to your social channels. Also, you can use giveaways to grab consumers’ attention.

Market with influence to grow your e-commerce store.

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.

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5 Ways to Make Your B2B Brand Fun on Social Fri, 20 Apr 2018 04:53:06 +0000 The post 5 Ways to Make Your B2B Brand Fun on Social appeared first on HostGator Blog.

5 Excellent Examples of Social Media for B2B Social media is the ultimate online hangout for consumers. On any given...

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5 Excellent Examples of Social Media for B2B

Social media is the ultimate online hangout for consumers.

On any given day, you’ll see people sharing the latest trends and products with their friends. It’s also an effective way for companies, big and small, to highlight their brand personality.

And while B2C brands shine the most on social, B2B brands sometimes hesitant to leverage the channel. Chelsea Baldwin, founder of Copy Power, writes:

“The B2B world can feel quite stiff sometimes. And while we all technically know that it doesn’t have to be that way, we find ourselves defaulting to that stiffness within our marketing, over and over again. Because even if we do want to be fun, we still need to be professional.”

B2B brands can have fun, too. Below are five B2B companies nailing social media marketing.


1. Showcase a Playful Brand Culture

The B2B ecosystem represents powerful deals, endless paperwork, and a polished, professional atmosphere. You’ll even think it’s the place where creativity goes to die.

However, if you rethink how you view B2B, you’ll understand that these companies aren’t selling to other businesses. Similar to their B2C counterparts, B2B brands make transactions with people.

Every business is H2H, or Human to Human. We’re all connecting and selling to other humans who enjoy learning, having fun, and engaging with others.

And that’s where the magic begins! You can use your brand personality to invite consumers into your culture. Give them an opportunity to see how uplifting and informative your brand can be.

We’re not saying post inappropriate photos from the last happy hour party. But we do want your values and playful nature to bleed through.

Below is an example from package delivery company UPS. On Instagram, the brand likes to post joyful images related to their company logo and culture. It’s unique and garners the eyeballs of their audience (even 3,068 likes!).

Bow WOW. Happy #DressUpYourPetDay 🐶

A post shared by UPS (@ups) on

Your B2B brand isn’t a heartless, corporate juggernaut. It’s full of many people who make up your brand culture. Display that image to your customers.


2. Launch a Virtual Product Tour

When you’re a kid, the best school days involved field trips to new places around the city. It was a chance to experience something different.

From the school’s perspective, it was an educational way to make the classroom theory a reality. Those tours to the local zoo, courtroom, and theater made abstract concepts more attainable.

You can bring back those memories to your consumers with virtual product tours. Through social media, you can offer a behind-the-scenes look at an upcoming product launch or give a snapshot of your facilities.

“Visual content tends to garner more engagement, especially on those networks where it is a fit like Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. Aside from great photography, use memes, infographics and visual representations [to exhibit] points made in blog posts,” says Douglas Burdett, founder of Artillery.

GE is all about introducing its Facebook fans to their innovations. During Drone Week, they answered live questions to enhance the experience.

Facebook Live video example for tech brand

What’s unique about your office? Can you give a live guided tour with one of your experts? Use these questions as starters to develop a fun social environment.

Bring your customers into your daily routine. Product tours make it easy for people to relate to your brand.


3. Highlight Charitable Giving

Humanity involves our actions and how we treat one another. People gravitate towards individuals who give back to those in need.

Charitable giving manifests in many shapes and forms. There’s donating a few extra dollars to your favorite nonprofit or spending your Saturday mornings tutoring kids in the neighborhood.

These selfless actions give hope. They show characteristics of compassion, friendship, and kindness.

Take a front and center approach by spotlighting your charitable giving. Consumers desire the stories of your brand doing more than just collecting a profit. They want to know how you’re serving the community.

Accenture walks the walk on social media. This global management consulting giant commits itself to giving back to communities. The soul of the brand centers around philanthropy, whether that’s donating funds or offering workers a chance to volunteer their time.


There’s a fine line between spotlighting your giving efforts and boasting about them. Work with your team to ensure your B2B brand isn’t coming off as arrogant.

Customers respect genuine charitable giving. And they can spot an imposter quickly! So continue to evaluate your strategy.

You’re doing wonderful things to impact the world. Use social media as an outlet to amplify your good deeds to the world.


4. Spotlight Your Employees

When it comes to B2B brands, it’s easy to think there’s no one doing the work in the background: making phone calls, meeting with customers, or even mopping the floors.

Well, businesses don’t operate efficiently unless there’s a dedicated and capable team calling the shots. Your employees are working around the clock to ensure the business runs smoothly.

And where there’s people doing great work, an amazing story is usually around the corner. You can use social media to magnify these stories.

“Post photos of team meetings, community events and everyday office fun! Show your audience there’s more to your brand than, well, a boring company. Show the human side of how things get done. Use your employees to breathe new life into our social campaigns,” suggests Owen Matson, director of content strategy at MarketScale.

Below is a LinkedIn post from Citi. The company honors their employees by sharing stories of their achievements.

Do something similar by profiling your own employees. You also can mention their achievements or highlight their work. You want consumers to see how you workers impact the business.

It doesn’t take much to spice up your social feed. Start giving your employees the extra recognition they deserve.


5. Create Contests to Boost Attention

The social in social media is what most B2B businesses overlook. They forget that engagement occurs when you interact with your audience.

To spur engagement, you can try posting a question to spark discussion, or you can even challenge your followers to caption a funny meme.

But you probably want to kick it up a notch, right?

If so, host your very own contest on social media. You can ask consumers to post their entries on the social channel, or you can direct them to a page on your site.

The great thing about contests is that they can be as simple or elaborate as you want. You can offer free swag or a trip for two to Paris. The only advice is to make it relevant to your audience.

Square shows how to create contests geared toward your consumers. The mobile payment brand hosted a contest to give away free retail space. They also teamed up with Appear Here to make it all happen.

b2b social media contest

Social media is all about connecting with people. Draw excitement for your B2B brand by creating a contest.


Shine on Social

Social fun isn’t reserved only for B2C brands. Your B2B business can leverage its originality on social media, too.

Try using your brand culture to get consumers’ attention. Open your virtual doors and invite folks to a product tour. And it never hurts to give your employees all the glory by highlighting their actions.

Having fun on social starts now.

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.

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5 Ideas To Create Social Media Content Your Customers Will Love Fri, 20 Apr 2018 04:52:46 +0000 The post 5 Ideas To Create Social Media Content Your Customers Will Love appeared first on HostGator Blog.

How to Create Social Media Content That Your Customers Actually Like Most businesses share content without thinking about whether it...

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How to Create Social Media Content That Your Customers Actually Like

Most businesses share content without thinking about whether it will resonate with their customers.

They focus on promoting their products and get stuck in a rut of selling 24/7. Those companies miss an essential point of marketing—thinking of your customers, not yourself.

You’ll want to be strategic about your content. Larry Alton, an Adweek contributor, says:

“Sure, an attractive Facebook cover photo is great, but it’s not going to mean the difference between converting a follower into a customer. The content you publish and share could, though. Treat content like your currency and it’ll fundamentally change the way you approach social media.”

It’s time for you to experiment. Here are a few ways to find the types of social media content your customers will love.

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1. Identify Popular Blog Posts

When it comes to selecting the right content, teams can get antsy. Rather than creating a focused strategy, they start posting any and everything online.

As a result, your social media account looks like paint thrown onto a wall. A few of posts work well, but most of your content misses the mark. Then, you scramble to try again and get the same outcome.

This time around, begin with what you know. And that’s your popular blog posts!

You’ve already done the hard work, and you know customers benefit from the content. Now, it’s up to you to share it with the rest of your followers.

If your website is connected to Google Analytics, you can locate your most popular posts in a few seconds. First, login to your account. On the left column, click Behavior, Site Content, and then All Pages. For primary dimension, click Page Title.

find most popular blog posts in Google Analytics

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Be sure to adapt each post to your desired social channel. You may have to tweak images, headlines, or even create a cool Twitter thread.

Do what’s already working. Start with your greatest hits—your most popular blog posts.


2. Ask Customers Directly

As small business owners, it’s easy to get stuck in your own head. Your team is pondering day and night to figure out what content will intrigue your fans.

However, it’s important to realize that you don’t possess all the answers. And to reach a solution, sometimes the best option is to ask your customers directly.

That’s right! If you want to know the types of content that really excite customers, get their feedback.

“Can direct outreach really be beneficial in getting feedback from customers? Absolutely. Understanding your customers is often as easy as talking to them directly. This direct outreach can also help fill in the gaps that less personal forms of feedback tend to create,” states Gregory Ciotti, a writer, marketing strategist and alum of Help Scout.

Depending on your company’s resources, you have a few ways to collect customers’ feedback. You can try sending an email requesting responses to a few questions, connecting with them on social media via direct message, or if you really have time, pick up the phone and call customers.

Inquire about their interests and what problems are plaguing them at the moment. That way, you can post social media content that fits their needs.


3. Listen on Social Media

On social media, there’s a lot of noise. Brands can get trapped into talking about irrelevant topics and decide only to stick to what they know best—their products.

To venture beyond the constant selling, you must be willing to do things differently. Rather than blasting out the same post every day at the same time, you’ll want to actually listen to your customers.

Jump down the social media rabbit hole to learn more about your followers. Gather information on what they like and dislike about your brand and discover their interests. This is the art of social listening.

To organize your search, you’ll probably want to invest in a tool like Sprout Social. You can monitor specific keywords, identify relevant hashtags, and engage with your brand advocates.

social listening software

Reports indicate that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. So take what you learn and apply it your customer service interactions.

Moreover, user-generated content is helpful for providing your audience with social proof. Reach out to customers raving about your brand and ask them if you can use their content in your next campaign.


4. Spy on Your Competitors’ Content

In the world of business, there’s a wise piece of advice for newcomers: don’t reinvent the wheel. Too many times, teams spend their precious resources building something from scratch, instead of revamping a mold that already exists.

Some of the best content research is available for free and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to locate. So, where is it?

It’s your competitor’s social media content. Both of you are attracting and engaging similar audiences, so use their content as a barometer on what may or may not resonate on your channel.

“You can also learn from your competitor’s mistakes—the Facebook posts that flop versus the posts people love, for instance—and hone your strategy to accommodate what appeals to your audience. With competitive intelligence in your marketing arsenal, you’re prepared to amp up your presence and increase traffic back to your website,” writes Sarah Bauer, content director at Navigator Multimedia Inc.

Observe which content types get the most customer engagement. Look for questions asked by followers and never get answered. The goal is to find your competitor’s blind spot and fill the consumer’s need on your social media account.

Of course, spying on the competition won’t give you everything you need. But it’s an effective process to get the content machine moving in the right direction.


5. Research Past Social Engagement

People are creatures of habit. We take comfort in doing things the same old way. When people recognize something familiar, we move towards it.

This principle holds true for ramping up your social media engagement. Analyzing past trends can offer insight on what customers may enjoy in the future.

Too often, we skip the data available to us. Analytics dashboards make it easier than ever to review social behavior.

For instance, below is a summary of Twitter analytics. It shows the top tweet, top media tweet, top mention, and top follower. You can find similar data on your brand’s account.

Twitter Analytics dashboard

Once you gather this data, what’s next? Use it as a guide to craft content with related topics or themes.

It also may spark ideas to repurpose existing content. Share that funny meme on Facebook to your Twitter followers. Ask an influencer in your field to repost your top Instagram post.

Social media is always evolving. So don’t focus on trends from three or five years ago. The past year is good enough to understand what your customers like.

Data is useful for predicting future behavior. Learn how to leverage it to satisfy your customers.


Must-See Social Media Content

The first rule of social media is to make content your audience will enjoy. If you don’t, you risk losing people’s interest quickly.

Promote popular blog posts to connect with your followers. Pay attention to what your fans post on their accounts. And give yourself a boost by taking a peek at your competitors.

Speak to your customers. Create likeable content.

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.

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Launch Your Online Store with This 5-Step Plan Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:18:41 +0000 The post Launch Your Online Store with This 5-Step Plan appeared first on HostGator Blog.

5 Steps to a Successful Online Store Launch Ready to open your online store? With all the excitement for the...

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5 Steps to a Successful Online Store Launch

Ready to open your online store?

With all the excitement for the official launch, it’s important that you take time to map out your plan. You want to be ready to serve customers on day 1 (with little or no issues).

Everything won’t be perfect, but the key is to keep pushing forward. Listen to Entrepreneur contributor Jonathan Long’s advice:

“Do not wait until you think it is perfect to launch. You are going to need to constantly split-test and make changes—it’s never going to be perfect…Don’t let excuses or fear get in your way—you are never going to know if you have a viable online business unless you launch.”

A strategy can help remove fear and doubt before launch day. Here’s our 5-step plan to assist you.

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1. Optimize Your Product Descriptions

In the e-commerce business, the website is the foundation for your brand. And similar to a house, a weak foundation can result in problems in the future.

That’s why it’s vital for you to optimize your website from the start. This process includes everything from web hosting to branding to technical search engine optimization.

There’s a lot to consider. Think about how easily a potential customer can access your navigation bar or what keyword phrases will help you rank on page one of Google.

With the growing number of mobile consumers, you’ll also want to configure your site for smartphones and tablets. A few small changes can make the shopping experience better.

Product descriptions are often overlooked when launching online stores. The content should provide all the product details with an image.

Here’s an example below from TJ Maxx. From a price to social share buttons, shoppers receive all the necessary information to make their purchasing decisions.

ecommerce product listing example

Before you dazzle up your store, figure how you can enhance the site for your consumers. Every tweak gets you closer to a sale.


2. Know Your Shipping Strategy

Most e-commerce stores sell physical products. If that’s your business, you need to ponder how you will deliver those products to your customers.

Shipping is a big deal in business. From a brand’s perspective, you want the lowest costs to get items from point A to point B. Customers want their products to arrive at their doorsteps as soon as possible.

These dilemmas leave very few options for e-commerce brands. For instance, you might have to offer free shipping to your shoppers.

“Most customers not only want free shipping, they expect it. For this reason it can be difficult to sell a product with a hefty shipping fee. Many online retailers combat this by including the cost of shipping into the price tag while raising the price and offering ‘free shipping’,” writes Forbes contributor Brent Gleeson.

Build a shipping strategy that ensures everyone involved gets what they desire. Answer the following questions:

  • What courier will ship your products?
  • What are the rates for your selected courier?
  • Will you fulfill international orders?
  • Will you purchase shipping insurance?
  • How will you keep track of your shipping costs?
  • What’s your shipping policy for refunds?

The more details you provide upfront, the better your strategy. You don’t want to be guessing what to do next when customers start buying your products.


3. Build Your Email List

While many industry leaders may declare that email marketing holds no significance, it’s still one of the best ways to communicate with potential buyers and longtime customers.

Communication is essential in the customer relationship. Email offers you the chance to inform consumers about your latest products and confirm shipments of their most recent orders.

Plus, on-the-go consumers can use their smart devices to check their emails. This access can help you become part of your buyer’s everyday tasks.

But before you jump into all the complexities of email marketing, like segmentation and user profiling, your brand can start with the basic content—the welcome email.

This email is the first greeting a consumer will receive for signing up for your newsletter. It’s the friendly introduction to your brand.

Take a few tips from Urbanears below. Their welcome email gives the purpose of their newsletter  and what consumers can expect to receive. The 10% coupon code doesn’t hurt either!

welcome email example for online store

When creating your welcome email, you may want to include a small incentive, too. And don’t forget to add your branding to the message, like your logo or brand colors.

Email marketing isn’t dead. You can take advantage of the benefits with a simple newsletter.


4. Gain Pre-Launch Feedback

Like anything in life, you benefit when people lend you their expertise. Listening to others can provide insight on how to iron out launch issues.

If possible, join a community of e-commerce store owners. You can learn from their mistakes and pick up a few pointers to improve your store.

Think outside the box when finding communities. You may have to join multiple Slack groups or sit down face-to-face with folks in your local area. Prepare to ask specific questions and offer your skill set to others.

Initiating a beta consumer group also is an effective way to get feedback before your launch. That way, you get real-life scenarios of what’s working (and not working) in your store.

“E-commerce companies should aim to create quick and cost-effective prototypes which they can share with potential customers. Beta users can then offer feedback that will help reinvent your product so that it better meets their needs,” states Danny Wong, entrepreneur, marketer, and writer.

Ask your beta users to navigate through your website and report any challenges that arise. You’ll also want to know if the products resonate with them.

Of course, you want to give an incentive to your beta testers. Their honest feedback will only improve your launch.

From communities to beta consumers, find ways to get feedback about your store. Then, make the changes quickly.


5. Develop Your Promotion Strategy

Brand-new e-commerce stores face a heavy burden when it comes to promoting their businesses. While you’re offering an amazing product, people must know you exist.

Promotion starts with knowing your audience. By learning who they are, you gain knowledge on where and how they consume information.

For example, if you’re selling puppy accessories, you may find out they read a unique magazine tailored to dog owners. Then, you may want to purchase ads on the magazine’s site to connect with the audience.

There’s a wide variety of promotional channels. You can begin with Facebook ads, strategic partnerships, or social media posts.

Old Navy promotes their products with the help of influencers on Twitter. This tweet sets the tone of the brand with a call to action.

ecommerce tweet

Focus your promotional strategy on the consumer. It’s the time to show them why your brand deserves their attention.

What separates you from the competition? How do your products solve their problems?

Learn more about your customers to succeed with promotion. You’ll have the intel to attract and maintain their loyalty.


Launch Your Store Today

Preparing for your launch day will help you move past any fears holding you back. With a strategy, you can make the customer experience better.

Remember to optimize your product pages to convert visitors into buyers. Place email opt-ins around your site to capture window shoppers. And consider doing a beta launch to gain feedback.

Plan. Then, launch!

Learn how HostGator’s web hosting can support your e-commerce store.

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.

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