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Laura B. Poindexter is a renowned thought leader, guiding clients through the changing electronic marketing and social media environment. Her public seminars have helped thousands of business owners learn and employ affordable marketing solutions. Since 2000, her company, Queenb Creative (formerly laura b creative), has managed clients’ online presence, maximized their social media and electronic marketing to positively impact their bottom line and enhance audience engagement.

27 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Year End List Growth in Constant Contact

If you are a Constant Contact user, be sure to grab this quick report before year end.

Constant Contact List Growth

Constant Contact tracks your list growth and gives you the following options under Contacts > Reports:

last 30 days
last 60 days
last 90 days
month to date
year to date

This is all great information and you should be tracking your list growth and unsubscribes on a regular basis.

However, the year to date data will reset on January 1. So, follow these instructions to grab the data before the New Year.

1. Log into your Constant Contact account
2. Select Contacts
3. Select Reports
4. Select “year to date” in the drop down on the right
5. Take a screenshot of the full window, including the “Growth by Source” information below the overall growth chart. I use Snagit by TechSmith but you can use any screenshot software or just use Print Screen on a Windows machine or Shift-Command-4 on a Mac.
6. Save your screenshot so you can access the data when you are ready to review it.

Here’s a two-minute video demonstration:

21 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

How to Boost Facebook Posts the Right Way

How to Boost Facebook PostsA few years ago, I wrote one of my most popular articles: Please Do NOT Boost That Facebook Post. I’ve since had a change of heart because Facebook has changed the options available for boosting posts. I still believe most businesses are not boosting Facebook posts properly and I hope to shed some light on a simple, but effective strategy to get value out of your boosts.

My main argument against boosting was the targeting available at the time and that boosting a post unsuccessfully would lead to wasted money and be a detriment to your organic Facebook engagement. So if you are still boosting posts and choosing random targeting like age, location, and interests, I would recommend that you stop immediately and read this post before boosting again.

As a business owner, you have such an incredible opportunity with Facebook to find your audience and to reach new prospects but sadly most business owners do not utilize these features and just blindly throw $20-50 behind a post and then get frustrated by the results.

What you should boost?

I believe in boosting your best content on Facebook. But it must be content that leads your customer into your sales funnel. The number one error I see in Facebook advertising is when businesses have no concept or plan for the customer journey. The post does not have to lead directly to a sale, but it does have to move your prospect closer to purchasing from you – it can be a photo, video, or link to content on your website.

But you should not be sending paid traffic to anything that is not tested. That being said, when you do have some great content that performs well on Facebook and that is a key step in your customer journey, this is the post to boost (as described below).

When should you boost?

First, you must give the post a day or two to get some organic engagement before boosting. We want some positive comments, likes, and shares. No one will read the post if there is no engagement. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.

How often you should follow this model really depends on how often you post to Facebook. My recommendation is to boost only 10-15% of your posts if that. Many social media “gurus” will tell you that you need to advertise to get reach on Facebook. I completely disagree. If you are boosting posts, be sure to post really great engaging content for your regular page posts as well.

How should you boost?

This is the key. Why would you post to a random group of people? You know who your audience is, right? The description of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences in my original post holds true. The exciting change is once you create an Audience in Facebook Ads Manager, you can now boost to that audience. This is so much more powerful than boosting to random people who happen to live near your business. Wouldn’t you agree? You have a list of your customers, prospects, or subscribers and now you can reach them and people like them. For more details read Please Do NOT Boost That Facebook Post.

I hope you will create some Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences of your own now and use these in your strategic post boosts.

07 March 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Why I Love Constant Contact

Why I Love Constant Contact

I have found Constant Contact is the right fit for 90% of the thousands of small business owners and nonprofit marketers I speak to each year. And email marketing is the number one digital marketing strategy you should be implementing in your business.

In case you are unaware, Constant Contact is an email solution provider. What does that mean? It allows organizations to send one-to-many emails to that organization’s permission-based list. It has long been the industry leader, especially for small business. I have been a user since 2003 and the product just keeps getting better.

I’m often asked why I love and recommend Constant Contact.

First of all, I believe Constant Contact knows its market is the small business and as such has kept the platform easy to use and cost effective for small organizations. Plans start at just $20/mo! And you can always start with a 60-day fully-featured trial.

They also have award-winning, patient, US-based customer support. If you spend more than 5 minutes on a question or problem within Constant Contact, contact Customer Support. They are amazing.

Lastly, Constant Contact has made an investment in the local community by establishing local education teams who present best practices on email marketing throughout your area. Local marketing professionals like me. You can find my webinars and DC-area events at www.laurabcreative.com/calendar. Many of my events are free, thanks to the support of Constant Contact.

11 New Constant Contact Features

So there are all the reasons I love Constant Contact as a company. Let’s dive into some of the amazing new features. Some of these are brand new, others have rolled out across accounts over the last 6-12 months. All of these features are in the new Drag and Drop Editor, officially called the Third Generation Editor. This interface is so easy to use. You can create a mobile-responsive email in minutes with tons of cool features like:

  1. Background Patterns. There are currently 8 different background patterns you can choose along with the ability to color them to match your branding. I’ve heard the ability to upload your own background images is coming soon.
  2. Import PDF to Email. This is amazing especially if you deal with another stakeholder who provides a PDF promotion like an event flyer. You can now import this PDF into Constant Contact and the system will create an image in the email that is automatically linked to the PDF download as well as a download button below the image. I encourage you to include descriptive text and details in the text of the email as well for those users who have images turned off.
  3. Specialty Blocks. These make it easy to add specific types of content above and beyond the general blocks that include text, images, videos, and social media links.
    1. Read More. Pull all the info from a blog post including image, title, first few lines, along with a link to the rest of the post.
    2. Poll. Ask readers a question and track their responses.
    3. RSVP. I have been loving this simple, one-click way for readers to RSVP for an event.

That’s just creating an email. There’s also a ton of magic happening after you send your email.

  1. Segmenting with Tags. You can segment your lists based on who has a certain tag or who does not have a tag. This means you can segment by customers or location easily.
  2. Social Share. The new social share allows you to share your email on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). I like to use this with clients to enhance their social media editorial calendar.
  3. New Email Archive. Simply place a piece of code on your website and then select which email campaigns show up in your archive right in the Constant Contact dashboard. I love the control and simplicity of this feature.

We also want to serve our subscribers and manage our email lists.

  1. Send Welcome Email by List. I have waited for this feature for so long. Now you can send tailored welcome emails with specific content for each of your lists. Read 3 Autoresponders to Use in Your Business Right Now for tips on creating your welcome email including a downloadable checklist. Do not overlook this important first contact that typically sees an open rate of 60-80%.
  2. Resubscribe Contacts. You can now send an email directly to a subscriber with instructions on how they can resubscribe. This is handy when a business associate or colleague has accidently unsubscribed. This is a great feature but should only be used for contacts that you’ve spoken to about resubscribing.

Now you can make sure your emails are more effective with these great new reporting features.

  1. Mobile vs. Desktop Opens by Campaign. Now you can see how many of your emails are opened on mobile versus desktop devices across the last 50 campaigns in your account as well as in each campaign.
  2. Search and Compare Campaigns. Within the reporting section, you can search and compare results from campaigns. The compare feature will give you a graph showing key metrics. With this in mind, remember to name your campaigns so you can identify the subject and content of the email in the reporting section.
  3. Click Through Heat Map. Now you can see which links were clicked in your email campaigns by viewing the heat map of actual clicks. This is helpful if you have the same link, say to an event registration, used in a headline, button, and image.

I know there are lots of options for email marketing but give Constant Contact a try. And if you are a past customer, I invite you to start a new free 60-day trial to check out all the cool new features.

10 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Are You Hurting Your Business with These 6 Social Media Mistakes?

You are on social media. You are posting updates. You may have even built a respectable following but you are getting no engagement or growth in your profiles. And, more importantly, you are not seeing increased sales from your efforts. What’s the problem?

I see the following mistakes most often when I review a business’ social media presence through my social media audit. Surprisingly, the worst offenses happen when a business is actually paying an outside firm to handle its social media.

Review this list and look at your organization’s social media. I hope it helps you tweak your existing efforts for better results.

  • No consistency. There is no consistency in your profiles. Can an outsider tell that your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, and your website are the same business? Do you use the same handles for all profiles? For instance, I am @laurabcreative everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, Snapchat, Blab, and Vine. This doesn’t mean that you need to be on every platform, but you need to have consistent handles across all platforms as well as consistent imagery and completed profiles.

To help you review this for yourself, I’ve created a Social Media Profile Checklist. This is where my social media audit starts and I always find a few places for improvement when reviewing a business. It is well worth your time to follow the checklist and review each platform.

  • No direction. The next biggest mistake I see is posting with no direction or what I call “posting just to post.” This is where you may have a social media plan and may even be paying an outside agency to post for you and that is what they are doing – just posting.

In fact, I don’t see a compelling reason why you should post every day. I’d rather you post a few times a week with really engaging posts than just putting something up there.

Social media is about engagement and connection with your audience. Posting just to post or taking a “set it and forget it” approach is counterintuitive to the entire opportunity that is social media marketing.

Many businesses continue to post the same type of content over weeks and months and wonder why they have nothing to show for their efforts. Here’s an example: do you post motivation quotes that are completely unrelated to your business? Do you actually have comments, likes, and shares on those posts? Even if you do, are they moving your clients or prospects any closer to buying your product or service? How about related articles? No likes and shares? Then why are you still posting them?

Please have a goal for your social media and make sure all your content stays on message. That doesn’t mean that all your content should be your own but it should certainly be on message.

As a caveat to this posting with no direction, we see the same posts across all platforms. Again, you are ignoring the different cultures and norms of each platform and just blasting your message. Please read Friends Don’t Let Friends Autopost.

  • No variety. Along the same lines, even with businesses who are posting and getting engagement, is a lack of variety in your posts. This means you are always posting a link or a photo but it’s the same photo — even if it’s a happy customer in your store, it’s basically the same photo. I look for variety in types of content – photos, videos, links, text updates along with variety within those posts. Have you ever gone to an Instagram account and all the posts are different motivational quotes with the exact same design? Guess which posts will just get glanced over in the news feed? The boring ones. Shake it up a little bit. Vary your posts and watch which ones your audience reacts to.
  • No plan. Posting sporadically. I see this a lot in marketing in general. You ignore your audience until you have a big event or promotion coming up and then you post about it – everywhere and too much. You want a consistent drumbeat of valuable content to your audience. You need to earn the right to promote to them. If you need a deeper dive on this point along with fantastic examples, I recommend Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk.
  • No one is listening. This comes from posting where your audience is not. You can be posting great content all day long but if your audience is not there, you are speaking to an empty room. Not sure where your audience is online or if they even are? You need to ask them where they are and where they would like to receive updates about your offering. Not sure who your ideal customer is? Define your ideal client here.
  • No response. Not responding to your audience is a huge no-no. This is why you want to limit the number of platforms you are on so you can manage the engagement and interactions. Be sure to assign someone to monitor the comments and messages on all platforms and empower them to respond quickly. Some platforms, like Facebook, now show how quickly a page responds to messages.

I applaud your efforts to integrate social media into your marketing plans. It’s important to realize that there is no magic bullet and that social media is a conversation with your audience. I hope you will review these 6 mistakes and they will help you improve your social media marketing resulting in better engagement and, of course, increased sales.

Start with my Social Media Profile Checklist.

And for goodness sake, have fun. Social media is supposed to be social so inject some fun into your posts.

If you want some ideas to increase engagement and growth, please schedule your customized social media audit today.