The following excerpt is from the article Seven tips to get a grip on YouTube SEO and written by Artemis Berry, Senior Director of Content and Community for Shop.org. Take a look at a few of his tips below, and then view the full article for even more insight on how to optimize SEO through video platforms.
As the second-largest search engine (with more search queries than Bing and Yahoo), a fully optimized YouTube channel is an important component to successful SEO. Here are a few tips on how to drive web traffic by utilizing the power of YouTube:
It’s time to post video content. If you don’t have anything – how are you going to rank? My own disclaimer: You have a lot to compete with. Every second, one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube. For my fellow analytics junkies out there, YouTube even has a dedicated website to help put the numbers in perspective.
Track your rankings. As with just about anything in our world of digital marketing, you cannot (generally) improve what you are not measuring. Not sure how to do that? Spencer recommended an online optimization tracker for video (still in beta) called Voot to start documenting these stats.
Optimize your video thumbnails. Choosing a better thumbnail of your video is a proven way to achieve a higher click-through rate. And, apparently, it’s even more important than the lists on your search engine results page.
Transcripts are searchable – make sure they are correct. YouTube makes machine transcriptions, but they aren’t perfect. To help enhance your search optimization you can override the automated transcript with one that matches the content perfectly.
SEO is a critical piece of the digital marketing strategy for just about anyone who does business. In our highly competitive retail landscape some things are on the must-do list, and YouTube optimization is just a start. But the primary takeaway from these tips is clear: companies must focus on natural search optimization tactics to drive traffic – and hopefully conversion – for their websites.
As your partner, our goal is to help your store succeed and a big part of that success depends on effectively advertising your store. Although our MBS Promo Guide offers extensive options, we understand that you may want to expand your marketing efforts even further. To help you think of new and creative ways to promote your biggest events, we’ll feature vendor recommendations for additional marketing resources once a week throughout the month of March. Take a look:
Vendor Name: RR Donnelly
Product: Dry Erase Dorm Room Calendars
Item Details: Customize the 14 x 22 inch calendars with your store’s most important event dates such as buyback and rush or any other useful information that could drive students to the store. The calendar section remains static so that students can use it continually throughout the year.
Uses: Because they can be so widely used, these four color, personalized calendars make an ideal in-store giveaway item, especially for the incoming class, or could even be sold as merchandise!
Benefits: With RR Donnelley’s Dry Erase CleanTac® Sheets, your calendars can be placed on any flat surface and transformed into a reusable writing surface. These unique sheets resist cracking, scuffing and abrasion and are compatible with dry erase markers. The markers will not bleed through the sheets, so the calendars can be used over and over again without damaging the wall or door behind, making them perfect for dorm rooms and apartments.
Plus, because they use special adhesive, the calendars can be removed and reapplied intact many times without damaging the sheet or surface. They’ll leave no sticky residue, even after being in place for weeks, months – even years!
Best of all, you can even offset the cost by selling ad space to local or on-campus vendors to be included in the customizable portions of the calendar.
How to Get Started: Interested in customizing your own Dry Erase Dorm Room Calendars? Contact Joel Lattuca by email or by phone at 800-456-2496×2732 or 800-280-4520×2732 for more information.
Sometimes, the best way to build loyalty is to just have a little fun with your customers – no sales strings attached.
So, this month, we’ve created an event based on that very concept. The Salute to Seuss Bash is aimed at bringing your students back to their favorite childhood times with a mix of engaging and entertaining activities hosted in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd.
We’ve brought you these ideas, which range from a tongue twister contest to a Faculty Favorites promotion a month early, so that you have plenty of time to prepare. And, as always, we’ve created all the marketing materials you’ll need. To get started, simply browse through our list of activities and pick the ones you think are best suited to your store. Check it out!
I know that many people have different views on how best to handle an angry customer. Some people will advise you to delete negative comments about your brand, and ignore them. I take the opposite approach, and with the right strategy in place you can turn an angry customer into a brand advocate.
There are pro-active steps you can take to help ensure that you will not create an angry customer on a social media rampage.
- Have a strategy ready before you see a negative review; make sure all of your team members know what steps to take if they find a negative post about your brand, and who they should contact if they have questions.
- Establish a relationship with a few loyal customers who you can call on if you ever need some brand advocates to help you convince an angry customer that your brand does value their customers.
- Have a commenting policy in place on your blog, Facebook page, etc. This way you will have something to fall back on when that angry customer does not want to resolve their issue but instead drag you to the brand grave.
But no matter how great your planning is, eventually you’ll run into that angry customer you so fear. What do you do next? Follow these four steps.
- Listen: Make sure you are constantly monitoring your brand online; I’m not just referring to Facebook and Twitter. You need to be using a monitoring tool. If you do not have a budget for purchasing a tool you can use Google Alerts for free.
- Evaluate: Some people just like to complain, and they may take their complaint to other review sites or social networks. They might continue to comment under their original complaint. Make sure you are watching to see how they react. Some people don’t check their mentions and you could never hear from them again, but at least you will have your post showing that you responded in a positive manner. That is what matters to others who will see your brand name online.
- Engage: Immediately say you’re SORRY. I don’t care if it isn’t not your fault; you need to apologize for their unsatisfied experience. If the complaint is from a service they received from your business then you could write “I’m very sorry for your experience. I would like to resolve this for you immediately. Please DM me your contact info here, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can call me at 1-800-HappyCustomers.” Try to get the conversation offline as quickly as possible.
- Follow up: Whether you took the conversation offline or left it online, follow up with this angry customer down the road. Check in to see if they received their refund, or if the service provider met their concerns on his/her next visit. This is how you will turn the angry customer into a brand advocate. Show them that they matter, and that you value them as a client.
Have you witnessed a social media hurricane? How did you handle it?
Kari Erpenbach, marketing manager, University of Minnesota Bookstores, Minneapolis, understands she can’t compete with local malls or discounters when it comes to Thanksgiving weekend sales. That doesn’t mean she’s not going to try.
The store will host its traditional holiday sale, but Erpenbach hopes a combination of new discounts and enhancements to its web site will make shopping an easier and more attractive option for customers.
“We want to get them any way we can,” she said. “If they are going to come down to campus and shop with us, we’ve got the sale where they’re going to earn gift cards and we’ll even wrap their stuff for free. If they prefer not to travel and want to shop online, now they can get the same discounts.”
The discounts are fairly straightforward: Customers receive 25% off almost every item in the store, along with a $10 gift card for every $50 spent on eligible products. The web enhancements allow the store to offer the same deal to its online customers.
The improvements also make it possible for the store to expand its customer base, offering the specials to University of Minnesota alumni worldwide through social media.
“We did a scratch-off sale, which was popular for many, many years, and the savings were 20% to 80% off, but online it was only 20%,” Erpenbach said. “Now, we’ve gone to 25% off both in-store and online, and giving the gift card to get people to spend more.
“Part of the problem with the scratch-off sale was it took a lot of explaining to our customers. After our buyers looked at the numbers, it was decided 25% was a sweet spot we wanted to try, and that way customers have confidence to shop because they know what their savings are,” she added.
The $10 gift cards are an added bonus to encourage more purchases. The cards will also help bring customers back since they can’t be used until Cyber Monday.
“We’ve done holiday sales and a Black Friday sale for the last six to eight years,” Erpenbach said. “In the beginning, we had some really great events, but retail has gotten so crazy with places like Target opening at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. We had to come up with a different mix.”
The sale begins Tuesday, Nov. 20, to give students an opportunity to shop before they head home for the Thanksgiving holiday. The store will be closed on Thanksgiving, but will reopen for Black Friday and Saturday shoppers.
In-store customers will get the added bonus of free gift-wrapping for their purchases, while the U of M technology store is planning its own specials that will continue through Cyber Monday.
“My buyers are a bit competitive and the tech buyer didn’t want to just be sitting around while everyone else was having a sale,” Erpenbach said. “We have some special in-store and online deals that will roll out of here on Thanksgiving Day.”
Erpenbach estimates the store will send around 180,000 e-mails about the sale to customers. In addition, the store has a series of Facebook ads ready to go that will run throughout the sale.
“Between pumping out the word through our campus partners and the alumni organizations and our e-mails and our advertising and our social media, we’re hoping to be hard to ignore,” she said.
Expanding the customer list began with Erpenbach going to the alumni organization to research the top 10 states where alumni live. Facebook analytics helped the store connect with those alumni, increasing the store’s fan base by more than 2,500 in one seven-day stretch.
“With social media and our online enhancements, we’re able to connect with people all over the world,” she said. “I was creating these ads and targeting different populations and different areas and we were able to get results instantaneously. And we’ve kept them.”
How are you planning to stay competitive this holiday season? Share your strategies in the comments section below.
October is just around corner and that means it’s almost time for Symposium! Now that registration is open, and you’ve seen all that we have planned for this year’s event, we want to know:
What are you most excited for at Symposium 2012?
Whether it’s a specific traning session or the baseball-themed BBQ, simply let us know why you’re looking forward to it and you could be featured in the upcoming digital edition of our Foreword publication! It’s your Symposium, so don’t miss out on the chance to give us your input!
The following excerpt is from the article Using Social to Drive Customer Traffic: 10 Tips For Using Foursquare and Facebook Deals, and was written by Ken Mueller, owner of Inkling Media, for SocialMediaToday.com. View the full article.
As I work with small businesses, the ultimate goal is simple: drive traffic through their doors. Yes, things like brand awareness are important, but ultimately, you need customers to come through the doors and make purchases.
With that in mind, I think it’s time to revisit the concept of location-based services and checking in, specifically with Foursquare and Facebook Check-ins. It’s time for small businesses to take a long hard look at using both of these services as a way of driving customer traffic.
Here are some key elements to running a successful location-based check-in campaign:
1. Think mobile – remember, these deals only exist for those who are using smart phones and mobile devices. But with the rapid adoption rate of mobile technology, we are now at a tipping point for mobile Internet usage overtaking stationary Internet usage. Take advantage of your customers being on-the-go and making last minute decisions.
2. Entice new customers – Both Facebook and Foursquare are great for offering rewards, but one thing all businesses want are new customers. The right deal for first time check-ins could bring new people through the door to check you out and sample what you have to offer. I’d suggest making that deal for first time visitors something that really helps them get to know you better, perhaps a discount on your signature product, or even free if it’s not too expensive of an item.
3. Reward loyalty – Too often small businesses focus their marketing and advertising efforts on new customer acquisition, and too often social contests are designed to reward new people. The problem with this is that you never want to forget your loyal customers who have been with your over the years, and come in regularly. They are the keys to your word of mouth marketing, so make sure you offer something special for them. Perhaps it’s special rewards for a certain number of check-ins over time, or something unique for the “Mayor” on Foursquare to promote some healthy competition.
4. Offer Multiple deals at once -Since you have the option of one deal on Facebook at a time, and multiple deals on Foursquare, I would say offer a variety of deals at the same time, some for new customers, some for repeat customers, and perhaps something for your hardcore fans. This way, there is something for everyone, and you can treat each deal as an experiment to find out what works and what doesn’t.
5. Mix it up – There might be some deals you want to offer over time, but I think it’s best, especially with Facebook, if you offer them for a limited time, perhaps monthly, and change both the reward and the requirements (i.e. number of check ins). Remember, not all of your customers are usually there for the same things. We all have our preferences within the scope of what you offer as products or services, so make sure you switch it up from time to time. Besides, we get bored easily; we like variety.
6. Choose your rewards carefully – This is really important. Whatever you offer, whether it be a discount or some sort of merchandise, it needs to be something that makes people want to check-in. If the reward is too small, no one will come to your business to claim it. And yet, while it needs to be of great enough value to attract customers, make sure it isn’t too big of a reward. You certainly don’t want to break the bank and lose too much money on the deal. In some cases, you might not mind losing some money on a short term deal, if you know the long term payoff will be greater in terms of future purchases, but in general, find the right balance that works for you and your customers.
7. Be strategic – Have a plan. I just spent a few hours with a client mapping out a strategy for this in order to do it right, and we’re not done yet. But by planning it out, you minimize risk while maximizing the return. Don’t just slap an offer together and throw it out there.
8. Promote, promote, promote – I can’t stress this enough: it doesn’t do you any good if you offer great deals but don’t tell anyone about it. If you us any sort of traditional media to promote your business, why not promote the check*in deals that way. If I’m putting an ad in a magazine or newspaper, you better believe I’ll mention our check-in deals as an incentive to come in. Try putting a sign on your front door or window, too, to entice passerbys.
9. Just ask! – Since location based marketing is still new to a lot of people, it hasn’t become second nature for them. As a result, we need to educate our customers as to what these platforms are, how they work, and what the benefits are of checking in. I’m working with several clients right now to use signage reminding people to check in. This is a perfect place for a QR code because these check-ins are done via mobile devices anyway.
10. Inform your staff – Don’t create deals without letting everyone know internally. You don’t want your staff to be caught off guard when someone tries to claim a reward, and you also want them to be able to explain the deals to people, as well as talk them up. Your staff can encourage people to check-in to take advantage of the deals. Remember, checking in is a new and learned behavior. We need to get people in the habit of doing this.
And of course, have fun! By encouraging people to check in, and making them want to check in, you’re taking advantage of their social graph and the viral nature of those platforms.
Does your store use foursquare or Facebook check-ins? If so, what types of deals have you offered? Tell us in the comments section below!
Your store may find a few extra competitors on campus this fall. Check out how big retail brands are planning to target your students, so that your store can form a defensive strategy,
U.S. electronics chains Best Buy and RadioShack have spent years trying to court students of all ages in the second-biggest selling season of the year, but this semester they are skipping high school and going straight to college.
The two retailers are focusing this back-to-school year mostly on older students heading to college who are more likely to spend money on pricey items such as laptops and tablets.
“We found out that really for us, it is the student that is just finishing high school and about to go into college that really, really matters,” Drew Panayiotou, Best Buy’s senior vice president of U.S. marketing, told Reuters. “We actually decided that we are not going to think about back-to-school, we are going to think about back-to-college.”
This shift comes a year after Best Buy and other retailers reported weak sales of technology products during the back-to-school shopping season, which is second only to the Christmas holiday season in importance for electronics retailers.
The new strategy means more marketing will be focused around college campuses as students gear up for the August and September start of classes.
Best Buy’s marketing campaign features real students who used technology available to them to invent something while they were still in college – much like Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. The company calls them “dorm-room innovators,” Panayiotou said.
Best Buy will launch a Facebook application that will allow students to create a dorm-room wish list.
ALL SUPPLIES, ALL THE TIME
It will also have “buy boards” on 30 big university campuses, which are essentially billboards with product photos and codes that students can scan, using a smartphone. This will let students quickly order items and have them delivered to the campus or to a nearby Best Buy store.
“We are taking the store now to the campus,” Panayiotou said.
Best Buy could use a back-to-school sales boost this year. The world’s largest consumer electronics chain has posted declines in same-store sales in seven of the last eight quarters and is also searching for a new CEO.
While analysts said the strategy by Best Buy and RadioShack to focus on college students who buy more expensive items made sense, they questioned how successful that tactic could be with other retailers such as Apple Inc’s Apple stores and online retailers like Amazon.com already doing the same.
“It’s certainly the right market. That’s certainly the area they need to focus on, but it’s a competitive market at the same time,” Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy said.
In fact, college students looking to save money may be more likely to price shop on the Internet instead of purchasing at Best Buy.
“If you are a college kid, you are looking for the lowest price and you are going to find it online,” Brian Sozzi, chief equities strategist at NBG Productions, said.
GO FOR CONVENIENCE
RadioShack plans to play the convenience card to convince college students to choose its products over mass merchants including Wal-Mart Stores Inc and office supply stores.
Paul Okimoto, vice president of marketing at RadioShack, called back-to-college shoppers the company’s “sweet spot.”
Last year, trade group National Retail Federation estimated “back-to-campus” shoppers spent about $46 billion during the period, with about 25 percent of that on consumer electronics, Okimoto said.
Based on that research, the retailer has decided to focus on 700 campuses that have a RadioShack store located within three miles. The company also plans to roll out special offers via social media targeting 18 high-profile campus locations in Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
RadioShack is offering college students and faculty 10 percent off on an array of products from phone chargers to WiFi routers to headphones, adding that the company was still in the final stages of planning other deals.
“We know that our consumers are deal conscious and coupon focused,” Okimoto said.
The following article, Survey: Consumers using Pinterest to engage with retailers more than Facebook, Twitter, was written by and published on RetailCustomerExperience.com.
Never before has social media been so attractive to consumers, literally. According to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study, a joint research project by Shop.org, comScore and The Partnering Group, the visually appealing social media site Pinterest has become a big player in an even bigger arena, with online U.S. consumers reporting that they already follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on the site, compared to the average 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and the 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter. Overall, almost two out of five (38 percent) online consumers follow retailers through one or more social networking sites.
For retailers engaged in the social media sphere, customizing their approach with social and mobile strategies is leading to social commerce success. The report outlines that as social media continues to grow, retailers are actively evaluating where their customers want them to be. The survey found company blogs, YouTube and Facebook command the majority of consumers’ social activity. In particular, seven in 10 (70 percent) of those who follow a retailer’s blog click through to the website, and though sometimes overlooked in the overall social media mix, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of consumers use YouTube to browse and research a retail company.
“Retailers have done a commendable job embracing social media — engaging their customers where it makes sense while keeping their brand relevant, interesting, appealing and exciting on each platform,” said Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell. “Specifically, Pinterest has given retailers another channel to ‘listen’ to and interact with both existing and new customers, telling an ongoing visual story through images of their products and their brand ‘spirit’, a story that customers can then tell again to their friends and family members.”
When it comes to what spurs consumers to follow retailers on social media platforms, the study found that finding good deals is still the leading reason, but that deals and promotions have lost a little bit of their luster. This year, 51 percent say they follow a retailer to get information on deals and coupons, down from 58 percent who said so last year. Four in 10 (43 percent) say they are looking for product information and 36 percent want to post/read comments about merchandise or services. Additionally, three in 10 consumers who follow retailers via social media say they are actively looking for information about events (34 percent), current trends and ideas (31 percent), or photos and videos (30 percent), such as “how-to’s” and styling ideas, as well as expert opinions (27 percent).
“There are significant new opportunities for retailers to entice smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store — or already in the store — thanks to technology that lets shoppers who want to hear from retailers instantly interact with them,” said Jennifer Vlahavas, senior director, comScore, Inc. “And while check-in and store location functionality are already gaining popularity, retailers have just begun to scratch the surface of using location data to better serve their customers. In-store shopping maps and customized shopping lists are a few of the emerging mobile technologies that promise to shape consumers’ future behavior.”
Smartphones allow “social shopping” experience for consumers
Smartphone-toting Americans seem to have no qualms about sharing their location with friends and family members through social media channels, and the study finds they are also interested in sharing their location with retailers. One-third (33 percent) of those who own smartphones say they have shared their location with retailers. Location-based services, such as Groupon Now!, FourSquare and Facebook have effectively helped retailers instantly reach new and existing customers by targeting special offers, discounts and coupons to their mobile devices once they’ve “checked-in.”
“For retailers, the possibilities are endless when it comes to enticing smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store or even already in the store, thanks to technology that lets shoppers who want to hear from retailers instantly interact with them,” said Jennifer Vlahavas, senior director, comScore, Inc. “And while check in and store location functionality are already gaining popularity, retailers have only just scratched the surface of using location data to better serve their customers. In-store shopping maps and customized shopping lists are a few of the possibilities that will cater to the consumer.”
The study found that men are more likely than women to share their location with a retailer (40 percent vs. 25 percent respectively), and nearly half (46 percent) of those aged 18-34 say they have shared their location, compared to just two in 10 (22 percent) of those aged 35-54.
In very different ways, tablets and smartphones are still an integral part of the average person’s shopping experience these days. The survey found those with smartphones are most likely to use their device for social reasons, such as contacting friends and family about products they see and searching for items nearby, while tablets are more likely to be used to make purchases and comparison shop. Specifically, nearly four in 10 (37 percent) smartphone owners who shop online say they use their smartphone to take pictures of products and more than one-third (34 percent) said they send the pictures of the products they see to friends. U.S. online consumers surveyed also say they text/call friends/family about specific products while shopping (33 percent).
The 2012 “Social Commerce Study” provides a unique look into the behaviors and attitudes of consumers regarding social media. The study covers consumer shopping activity and engagement via Facebook, Twitter, customer reviews on websites, group-buying sites and location-based social platforms.1,507 online U.S. consumers participated in the survey which was conducted in March 2012 by comScore, Inc. The survey participants were selected to ensure that results were representative of the demographics of the U.S. online adult consumer. Results were weighted to accurately reflect U.S. demographics.