Category Archives: Marketing

What to Do When Your Online Reputation Takes a Hit

First and foremost when you are struck by negativity online:

keep-calm

The worst thing you can do right now is overreact and say something you may regret. Count to ten, shut down your computer, and make a strategyYou’ll want to have a plan before you do anything publicly.

First, how bad was it? Is it something that you can just let pass you by without comment at all? Will it blow over in a day? Would a quick apology mitigate any outrage?

Especially when the problem is a bad review (say, on Yelp), a brief but heartfelt apology to the writer can help to quell the disappointment of your customer, as well as the concern of onlookers who are trying to decide whether to give you their business or not.

Any apology or address of a grievance should be without fuss or qualification. If you supplement your apology with excuses and shirk blame, it will undo any good will you may have garnered. If you can’t make a straightforward apology, don’t do it at all.

Answer the most common questions. A crisis, especially one on the Internet, will come with a slew of misinformation. Find a place to provide answers to your audience’s questions so they are getting the actual facts right from the source – you. Be honest in your answers. If you can’t answer every question right away, acknowledge that your company is working on a solution.

Continue to be responsive on social media throughout the crisis. Consider this: if people are going to vent, wouldn’t it be better if it’s on your Facebook wall where you can respond and monitor the outrage? Your inclination might be to recede and stay away from public outlets, but giving the public a place to complain on your turf will ensure you retain a degree of control.

Make sure your employees are filled in on the plan. Hopefully your employees have the best interests of your company at heart, but they can’t act accordingly unless you let them know what you expect of them. When a social media crisis hits, you want to deliver a consistent message, so make sure everyone knows what’s up.

Avoid one-on-one arguments. Is one guy on Facebook giving you a lot of trouble? Respond to any one person a maximum of twice. Three times makes it an argument, and you’ve probably got other customers to focus on anyway. You can’t convince everyone, so don’t bring your situation down further by hashing it out with one headstrong guy.

Last and most importantly:

Remain calm, collected, and polite. You’re on damage control and the point is to redeem your business’s reputation, not ridicule or fight your customers. If they are angry, the best thing you can do is respond graciously. You’ll show them that your business’s character is strong, steady, and respectful.

5 Ways to Boost Your Online Reputation

marketingOnline marketing is all about building a virtual identity that people can recognize, connect with, and even promote to their friends. Certainly any business wants their online identity to be regarded positively, but a marketing strategy that is too aggressive or not skillfully designed can come off as pushy or inept, resulting in less customer trust.

Obviously, you don’t want that to be you. Here are a few strategies to help your online reputation not only grow in terms of recognition, but in terms of trust and good will!

Be consistent on your selected social media platforms.
You don’t have to be on every social media site that exists, so don’t stretch yourself thin trying! Stick to the platforms you feel comfortable on, build a following, and then (and this is the important part) don’t abandon your fans/followers. It’s so frustrating for loyal consumers to commit to following your brand only to have you quit updating. Consistency on social media (whether you update once a week or once a day) will promote the idea that you’re not only communicating with your customers regularly, but that you’re generally reliable.

Respond to your fans and followers.
Social media is meant to promote conversation, not monologues, so don’t let your interactions be one-sided! Thank fans and followers for connecting with you online, respond to their comments, and even encourage conversation by sending out questions and requests for feedback. Your customer-base will appreciate that they’ve been given a chance to air complaints or (and you’ll find this is WAY more common) express their gratitude for your service.

Reach out to experts or connect with them online.
Engaging with a well-known authority in your business’s field can let people know that you are involved in your field’s development. Try following experts on Twitter and occasionally retweeting their best content. See if you can get one of them to do a guest post on your blog, or (even better) if you can write one for theirs. Even just connecting with experts on Facebook or LinkedIn can help promote consumer trust!

Use testimonials.
Yelp is so popular because people want to know what kind of experience previous customers had with your business. But you don’t need to limit testimonials to just review platforms! You can collect testimonials through your website, social media, or even just on a piece of paper at your store. Make sure that you have permission to reproduce the content, then spread the word through your social platforms or with a page on your website. And be sure to thank your reviewers for their kind words!

Edit, re-edit, and then edit one more time.
There’s nothing that will undermine your fantastic content and stellar customer service like typos and bad grammar, so proofread everything you put out! Editing isn’t just about spelling and punctuation, though. When possible, get a second opinion on your outgoing content to be sure it’s delivering the message you want. Never be snarky or sarcastic; it rarely reads well on social media. Your customers deserve your best effort, so give it to them!

How to Not Annoy Your Subscribers with Your Email Marketing

email-marketing-smaller

If you currently have an email address, you are almost certainly signed up to at least one subscriber list. For customers, these emails can be a fantastic way to easily receive information about your favorite businesses. However, there are certain pitfalls that can make these emails more spammy than interesting.

You definitely don’t want to your email marketing campaign to make these mistakes! To help you out, here are eight tips to lower your unsubscribe rate, improve your open rate, and even endear your company to your customers by respecting their inboxes.

Make it clear to customers that they are subscribing to your emails.
The only people who should be receiving your emails are those who wanted to in the first place. Do not automatically sign someone up for your emails because they bought a product or contacted support. Always ensure there is a checkbox that clearly lets people know they are opting-in to your email list.

Send a welcome email.
This will let anyone who didn’t mean to sign up know immediately so they can cancel. It’s also a great opportunity to let people know what they have in store if they don’t unsubscribe, or even better, offer them a coupon or special deal for their interest!

Don’t overload your readers’  inboxes.
The frequency of your emails will vary by industry, but most businesses would probably do well to stick to one or two emails per week. Very few companies would need to send more than one email per day, but if you fall into this category (and really think about whether you do, because such high frequency is a sure-fire way to get unsubscribers) at least space out the emails so there’s one in the morning and one in the evening. What you do not want is for someone to get another email when they haven’t even had a chance to open the first one.

Change your subject line every time.
If the title of each of your emails is “Latest News from XYC Company” then your emails are a lot easier to ignore time after time. Try changing the subject lines up to reflect the content they’ll find inside, especially if the email includes a deal or sale!

Play around with your send time.
The hour of day that your email goes out will affect your open rate for sure, but the only way to find out what works for your customers is trial and error. While keeping track of your open rates, try altering the hour your email goes out from morning to evening, weekends and weekdays to see what works best for your particular audience.

Consider not being a regular emailer.
Lots of email marketing tip lists will tell you to keep to an editorial calendar to be sure you send out your emails at the same time every single week. The idea is that customers will forget about you if you don’t reach out often enough. While this method may work for some businesses, it’s much more important for your emails to contain great content that your customers want to read. If that means one month you send three excellent emails, but only have enough interesting content for one email the next month, that’s okay. And it’s definitely preferable to sending empty content at the same time every week!

Test across multiple email clients.
This one is hard because there are tons of email clients and, like browsers, all of them use different rules for parsing and displaying your emails. A simple is always more likely to work in multiple clients, but there are also well-tested, more complex templates included in most services like MailChimp or Mad Mimi. You can also cross-test your emails with a premium service like Litmus.

Erase the term “email blast” from your vocabulary.
We hate this term! It implies that your email campaign is an impersonal assault on your customers, and we know you don’t really feel that way. Your emails should be tailored to your customers and considerate of their time and resources. Trust us, they’ll appreciate it!

Zero to Profitable: Taking Your Business From No Online Presence to an Awesome One

You had the million dollar idea – that’s awesome and congratulations, but (as we’re sure you already know) the dream must become a reality.

For most industries these days, it’s going to involve a web presence. Creating one is tough stuff, though, and most people don’t even know where to start. That’s why we’re here to help!

Before you start a fervent social media or SEO campaign, you’re going to need somewhere to send people – a kind of virtual home base for your business. That’s why we recommend that your first step be to…

Get a website.
Whatever your budget or level of web experience – there is a solution for you. The important thing is to have a place on the Internet that has the most pertinent information about your business. Be sure to clearly state what your new company does and how to engage your services.

If you have a more complicated website that will be under construction for a while, you might consider a Facebook page as a temporary home base. We want to emphasize the “temporary” bit because ultimately having an established website will lend your business far more versatility and credibility than a Facebook page alone.

Create content.
Whether it’s blogposts, video, or images, creating content that establishes you as an authority in your field can do wonders for your business. It can also help you later on with an inbound marketing strategy. Even if it’s one post a week, blogging is a great way to quickly improve the SEO ranking of your website, too. Not convinced? Try this article on for size.

Share, share, share.
Now that you’re creating great content and have a site to send people to, you should definitely jump into social media! There are lots of different networks with different audiences, but most businesses start with Facebook and Twitter. We’ve got an in-depth article all about choosing a social media platform right here!

Consider your SEO.
It’s really surprising how much carefully choosing your page titles and blogpost keywords can boost your organic Google rankings. SEO is all about placing your website on the first page of results for your preferred keywords. The tricky part is actually choosing those keywords!

Pro Tip: at first, you’ll want to pick key phrases like “pizza shop in memphis” – the more rare the better!

Repeat.
Now that you’ve got a website, a social presence, and a SEO strategy, you’re ready to go back and revise! What did you neglect in your first website? Do it now! Is there a social network that might more specifically apply to your field? Join it! Has your SEO strategy secured your targeted keywords for you? Branch out and get more! Good luck!

Four Things You May Not Know You Can Do With Google Analytics

Google Analytics is some pretty powerful (and thankfully, free) software that can provide you with amazing insight into your website and your audience. When you know more about how people navigate your site, and even how they get there in the first place, you have the information you need to substantially increase your traffic.

Despite Analytics being a free tool, most website owners never bother to install it, and of those that do, many of them never even glance at their dashboard to find the hidden jewels! So let’s break it down for you. Here are the top four more useful things you can glean from your Analytics.

Determine your organic search keywords
If you’ve been crafting an SEO strategy, you know that your “keywords” are the specific search terms that you are targeting – which is to say that you’d like your content to show up when someone searches those keywords. Analytics can offer some insight into what people are actually searching to reach your website, which can really help you determine what keywords you’d like to target in your strategy.

keywords

Track your current traffic
This feature is especially useful if you’ve just made a big announcement or are offering a special deal! You can see how many people are on your site, what pages they are browsing, how long they’re staying on the site, and even how they are getting to your site.

real-time

Find your Exit Pages
An “Exit Page” is the last page a user visits before they navigate away from a site. This can be really helpful for discovering which pages are turning your viewers off. It’s worth looking into those pages to see if you can make them more engaging so people don’t leave!

exit-pages

Discover who’s on mobile
Ever wanted to know how much of your traffic is from users on mobile devices? Analytics has a page for that. The numbers are probably higher than you might think, which is why we recommend mobile compatibility for all websites.

mobile

Actually, Analytics will go even deeper and tell you what kind of mobile device your users are on.

mobile-2

This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what data Google Analytics collects and the applications for that data. We’re happy to help if you want help to install Analytics or to dive into the meaningful information to make effective action.

How to Write Compelling Copy for the Modern Web

Is your copy doing as much for your business’s website as it could? Both an art and a science, copywriting must take into account personality and eloquence while also appealing to a target demographic and being compelling enough to be effective. In short, it’s harder than it seems.

We’ve previously posted a multi-part guide on writing content, but this was more geared towards blogwriting. Copywriting is a totally different animal, and therefore worthy of a whole separate set of tips and guidelines.

Obviously both blogposts and copy are comprised of text, but the main difference between them is generally a call to action. The copy’s purpose is to drive your reader to an action (such as to buy your product or fill out your contact us form), while the blogpost may just be informational or interesting. Since the goal of copy is different, your style has to be adjusted accordingly.

Things get a little tricker though when you consider the state of the modern web and how people access it. Every day, the number of people visiting the Internet on a mobile device is climbing. This means the size of the average screen being used to view your website is getting smaller all the time, and your copy (as well as your design) should take this into account, which brings us to our first point…

Keep it short. 
Decide what the most important one to three points you want to get across on each page are, and write one to three sentences to convey them. Visitors (and especially mobile visitors) are looking for information fast – so give it to them fast. If you absolutely must have more copy than three sentences…

Break up paragraphs.
Visually, breaking up your paragraphs will make your copy easier to read, but separating sections of copy will also help to define a hierarchy of importance. Put your main one to three points in the first paragraph. Then, if more information is needed, put that in a second short paragraph. The next-most important information can go in the third paragraph, and so on. Readers can then self-select where they want to stop reading, but they’ll have certainly taken away your most important points since you put them in the first paragraph.

Be conversational.
This doesn’t mean you have to use the first or second person, though you certainly can. The idea behind conversational copy is to make reading and comprehending your copy nearly thoughtless. Use simple sentence structure and stay away from advanced vocabulary. Have a friend or colleague read over your copy and ask if they had to go back to read anything more than once. If so, revise.

Only use superlatives you can backup.
If you find yourself walking around New York City, just about every block has a shop touting that they have “The Best Pizza in New York.” The claim no longer means anything. However, “‘The Best Pizza in New York’ – NYT” has a lot more power. Superlatives tend to make customers suspicious or doubtful, so make sure your superlatives are backed up by testimonials or facts to pack a real punch.

Recognize the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’.
This may vary based on your business, but chances are good that your product or service is not a basic human need. Your copy should tap into readers’ wants with copy that evokes desire and interest, not urgent necessity. Ways to do this would be to hype the “cool-factor” of your product or the competitive advantage your service can offer.

Write in phases.
Try writing your next bit of copy in four phases like this:

  • Phase 1: Define key points and write one to three sentences just conveying those points as simply as possible.
  • Phase 2: Rewrite with desired tone and personality as though you were talking directly to a customer.
  • Phase 3: Rewrite for SEO, using targeted key phrases.
  • Phase 4: Read your copy aloud. Resimplify by cutting as much superfluous text as possible.

Challenge: Pick one page on your website and rewrite the copy keeping these tips in mind. If you have access to an A/B testing module, run your new copy through a test!

We’re Hiring an Account Manager

We are currently looking for an Account Manager for our growing team. Below is a description of the position. Please contact us if you are interested or if you know someone who is. Thanks!

Summary:
LunaWeb is looking for a full time account manager who will be responsible for managing multiple client projects, ensuring timely delivery of our services and providing awesome client experiences.

Specific responsibilities include:
• Serving as primary account contact for multiple clients
• Managing multiple Web/software development projects at a detailed, hands-on level (includes time/resource management)
• Ensuring projects stay on budget and on time
• Planning client projects
• Communicating technical information to variety of people
• Delivering great customer/client experiences
• Relationship management
• Selling additional services to existing clients
• Communicating with the client and internal teams through various channels
• Quality assurance

Desired skills and experience:
To be successful in this position, one must thrive in a fast, changing environment; enjoy providing great client experiences; think strategically; and get things done on time. Here are some specifics we’re looking for:
• Minimum 3 years of experience in similar account management role
• Bachelor’s degree
• Track record of delivering excellent client experiences, preferably with larger accounts
• Experienced in managing multiple projects
• Basic knowledge of html (preferred)
• Basic knowledge of software/web development
• Effective decision-maker
• Great communicator: verbal and written
• Comfortable with technical conversations
• Experience in project management or project coordination is a big plus

About Us:
We are an established company that thinks like a startup. We are professionals who take our business and our fun seriously. We care about our team, our clients and our community. We are flexible and are continually learning new things. We are looking for people who help us deliver great client experiences and grow our business.

To Apply:
Send us your resume or LinkedIn link (careers [at] lunaweb [dot] com) with Account Manager as the subject. Tell us why you would be a great addition to the LunaWeb team. And please include references.

Cool Tools for Productivity

So last week we blogged about self-quantification as a method for helping yourself be more productive, happier, and healthier. On our quest we found a wealth of cool productivity apps that didn’t really fit in with the idea of quantifying your life, but we wanted to share them anyway.

Kippt
Sure, your regular old bookmark bar can keep all the pages you want to read divided into folders, but what if you want something prettier, more expansive, and more organized? What if you want images to jog your memory about why you bookmarked the page? Kippt is your own personal library of the webpages you want to save. Organize it into sections, save whatever you like, and remember more of what you find on the web.

kippt

Workflowy
At first this app seems like a simple bullet point list maker, but it’s so much more than that. Each bullet can be expanded to reveal its own list, each item of which can be its own list, and so on and so on until you can’t be organized anymore! Watch this video to see just what I mean – it’s very cool.

CarrotClear, or Wunderlist
A good to-do list is crucial for time management, and here are two options for iPhone (Carrot and Clear) and one option for all platforms (Wunderlist). They all have their perks: Clear is beautiful, intuitive, and simple; Wunderlist works across multiple platforms, maintains many lists at once, and is free; and Carrot is dead simple, sarcastic, and hilarious. If you need a little extra motivation to keep up with your list, we recommend Carrot – the sadistic to-do app that turns getting your tasks done into a fun (and occasionally infuriating) game. (Carrot: $1 for iPhone / Clear: $2 for iPhone / Wunderlist: Free for iPhone, Android, and iPad)

SignNow
As much as we try to keep our lives digital to reduce clutter, sometimes people need you to print something, sign it, scan it, and email or fax it back. No more! Now you can digitally sign any documents using the touch screen on your smart phone. Email them right from the phone app or access your documents from the web app. So there, paper waste! (Free for iPhone and Android)

5 Apps for Self-Quantification

self-quantificationWe’re always trying to do better, be more streamlined, and get more of our ideas on paper. We bet you are, too, and like us, you probably use technology to help you get there.

One way to reach new milestones in anything from your workout to your happiness is to quantify it, then strive to beat your own numbers. With technology following us everywhere we go, turning life into numbers is a lot easier than ever before. There’s a whole movement surrounding the idea of “body hacking” through technology and numbers called “self-quantification” or “quantified self” and it’s a great way to get insight into your body and habits and make real positive changes.

Things people track include weight, mood, activity, hours of sleep, projects completed, and basically anything else that be converted into numerical information. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few apps that might help you jump off into the data-driven world of self-quantification.

Daytum
Props to this app for being fun to look at, plus it’s very user intuitive. You can easily track anything in numbers with beautiful graphs. It doesn’t let you take notes, but if you’re not looking for that feature, this is a great app. (Free version for iPhone)

Evernote
If you’re looking for less graph driven tracking, Evernote works on every device and can easily handle a simple spreadsheet. If you’re looking for something more flexible to track notes and photos along with your data, Evernote is a great option. (Free on iPhone and Android)

InfiLog
Slightly more versatile than Daytum, InfiLog lets you set up templates of information, so you might have a Health template that includes weight, blood pressure, calories consumed, plus notes about how you felt and an overall rating of your health that day. It also includes graphs. The free version is pretty limited, but the $2.99 allows you to track just about anything. (For iPhone and iPad)

TallyZoo
If you’re looking more to count items on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis (such as times you meditated, glasses of wine, or cups of water consumed), Tally Zoo is perfect. With a dashboard of one-touch buttons to log, you can keep track of your habits easily. (Free for iPhone)

MoodPanda
If you’re just starting out with self-quantifying, you might just get going with this easy app. Just rate your mood and write a few words about why you feel that way. It’s a great way to promote self-reflection and see patterns in your ups and downs. (Free for iPhone and Android)

It’s important to remember when approaching a self-quantification routine that the goal isn’t the numbers, it’s results. Miss a day of tracking? That’s okay. Numbers aren’t quite right today? There’s tomorrow. Use these as a tool, not to run your life, and you’ll find you’re making huge strides towards your personal goals!