Increase Instagram Followers for Your Online and Offline Store

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Run Hashtag Contests

If you want an Instagram hashtag of your very own to start trending, contests are one of the best ways to make it happen. Most people aren’t going to just use your hashtags because you want them to. But they WILL use your hashtags if they know it is how you are organizing and collecting contest entries. If there is something in it for the Instagram user, they are much more likely to behave in the way you want.

It’s very easy to setup a contest for your online store.  Have Instagramers post a pic or video on their account and then have them tag it using your specific contest hashtag.  

What is an Instagram Hashtag Contest?

An Instagram Hashtag Contest is one of the simplest ways to get fans interacting with your brand. It involves an individual posting their own picture on Instagram, then tagging it with a specific hashtag that your business has chosen.

All pictures uploaded with that hashtag are then displayed in a gallery page on your website or Facebook Page as well as being shown in one single stream on Instagram.

This type of contest allows you to deepen the emotional connection you have with followers. You get them communicating about your business to their own networks while also capturing user-generated content which you can then use for future marketing efforts.

What’s better than having fans as brand advocates? Not much at all.

Once in the gallery, all photos with the hashtag can then be voted on, shared or liked. This increases the reach of your contest and your business massively, allowing other users to discover you on the platform. You can then choose if you want to display submissions in the gallery based on most votes, most recent submission, or randomly.

 What makes an Instagram Hashtag Contest so effective?

  • Using a specific hashtag allows you to spread the word about a campaign, exposing your business to new users

  • It requires little effort from your business - the hardest part simply being coming up with a good, catchy hashtag and theme

  • You get rewarded with engaged followers and authentic images from the customer themselves, showing your business through their eyes

  • A prize of a $100 gift certificate is relevant and valuable to Instagram users (more valuable, even, than a specific product worth $100). It is also proportionate to the level of effort required for users to participate. 

  • They have asked users to tag their business in the photo, allowing all uploaded images to also be shown on their account in their tagged photo section. 

Any questions. Let me know

Keep in touch

Are men the salvation of brick-and-mortar retail?

Mall retailers have long considered women to be their primary shoppers, but all that might be about to change.  A study from new product solutions provider First Insight found that men are more likely than women to want to touch and feel a product before buying it, more likely to pay full-price at a retail store, and less likely to turn to Amazon for a cheaper alternative.

I loved this post and knew you’d be interested in reading about this issue. Enjoy Barbara

Physical Stores Win Out Over Online Competitors In This Category

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Apparel ranks as one of the most purchased categories online, but clothing stores in malls still own a strong advantage over e-commerce competitors.

That’s according to a survey by Valassis, the consumer promotion and coupon company, which surveyed consumers who visited an indoor mall more than times in the past year and found that 60% of them prefer to shop apparel in the physical marketplace. Their chief reasons for doing so: being able to try on items and visit — and compare selections — at several different stores.

I found this information fascinating.

Green Monday

Hi Everyone,

Not  a lot is know about Green Monday. I loved this article and hope you will as well.

Green Monday is the second Monday in December. It's also known as Cyber Monday 2 because it's the second biggest day for online holiday shopping.

For that reason, Green Monday is promoted by top stores like Wal-mart, Target and Amazon to extend the excitement around Cyber Week and the Black Friday kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

In 2016, Green Monday online retail sales were $1.621 billion.

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Read on …..

That beat the 2014 record of $1.615 trillion. It's more than double the pre-recession high of $881 million set in 2007. Only Cyber Monday saw greater sales, at $2.5 billion.

Both Green Monday and Cyber Monday follow the bricks-and-mortar shopping done on Black Friday, the first shopping day after Thanksgiving. Bit the online days set greater records each year as more people enjoy the convenience of shopping with their computers, tablets, and phones.

Like Cyber Monday, Green Monday is more appealing to Millennial's and Gen X. Sixty percent of those under 40 buy their holiday gifts online, compared to just 40 percent of Baby Boomers.

The holiday shopping season is critical because one fifth of annual retail sales occurs between Black Friday and Christmas. Some, like jewelers, receive 40 percent of their annual revenue during the holidays.

How Did Green Monday Get Its Name?

In 2007, eBay reported that its busiest day was the second Monday in December. At that time, it was the last day shoppers could get gifts in the mail so they would arrive by Christmas. eBay christened it Green Monday for two reasons. First, green meant revenue for the company.

Second, eBay markets online shopping as environmentally friendly, or greener than brick-and-mortar stores.

Green Monday is no longer the busiest day, as shoppers are attracted to deals throughout Cyber Week. With Amazon Prime and other services, shoppers can wait until closer to Christmas to buy online and have it arrive on time. But Green Monday is still a good bargain. Retailers offer 50 percent to 90 percent offregular prices.

How to Get the Best Green Monday Deals

Deals can be found on each stores' Green Monday or Cyber Monday websites. You can find the best deals for all stores on FatWallet's Green Monday web site.

Green Monday sales can be found on CyberMonday.com, which promotes online discounts from 800 retailers year-round. These Cyber Monday Shopping Tipscan also apply to Green Monday.

Of course, the best deals are on Wal-Mart's site. More than 300 online specials are offered, including ten of the most popular deals from Black Friday.  Green Monday was Walmart.com’s highest traffic day in December for two years in a row.

Barbara

What in the World Is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?

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Really found this post interesting. Had to share it with you. Here are three explanations for the recent demise of America’s storefronts.1. People are simply buying more stuff online than they used to.The simplest explanation for the demise of brick-and-mortar shops is that Amazon is eating retail. Between 2010 and last year, Amazon’s sales in North America quintupled from $16 billion to $80 billion. Sears’ revenue last year was about $22 billion, so you could say Amazon has grown by three Sears in six years. Even more…..Read more : What in the World Is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?

Tips for your next email blast

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Getting ready to send your next email blast and wondering what you can do to improve your results?

This post was written for you.

I hope you enjoy it. Barbara

Here are five simple tips for your next email blast, or eblast.

1. Don’t think of it as an email blast

If you’re just “blasting” out information sporadically whenever you have the time, you need to reevaluate your email marketing strategy.

Focus on creating a thoughtful email marketing plan that consistently delivers value to your subscribers and your business.

Rather than blasting out information, think of email marketing as a way to interact with your customers and prospects, build relationships, and drive valuable repeat business.

Look for opportunities to engage your subscribers by offering useful tips, providing exclusive discounts, or giving your subscribers the opportunity to share feedback.

Learn MoreHow to Plan an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

2. Get to know your subscribers

Once you’ve taken a second look at your sending strategy, you’ll need to take steps to better understand your subscribers. Who they are, what they’re interested in, and how you can improve your relationship with them.

The more you think about your subscribers, the more you’ll realize the different groups you’re trying to talk to all at once.

While some people on your email list may be lifelong customers, others may be completely new to your business.

Rather than “blasting” all of your contacts with the same information, take the time to figure out how to deliver a more personalized experience to each of your subscribers.

Consider creating separate email lists to better target your different types of contacts. Here are a few examples of how different industries segment their list:

  • A nursery will email its residential customers about new spring plantings and its commercial customers about availability of bulk mulch.
  • A cosmetics boutique will email one coupon to customers who buy makeup and another to those who buy skin-care products.
  • A financial services firm will email tax prep customers a timely IRS filing reminder and another to financial planning clients about rebalancing their portfolios.

3. Make your emails interactive

When you approach emails with an eblast mentality, you risk forgetting that your emails should inspire action and elicit a measurable response.

Make your emails interactive and give your subscribers a clear call to action so they know how to take the next step.

Should they read an article on your website? Purchase your new product? RSVP to your event?

Your email design should be clean and focused — with every element in the message supporting the goal of your message.

Learn More: How to Instantly Increase Engagement in Your Emails

4. Provide value

Today, consumers expect more from the businesses they interact with online and off.

With so many brands competing for their attention in all the places they visit every day — whether it’s through TV, email, or social media — consumers have gotten better and better at filtering out messages that aren’t relevant to their needs or interests.

If you want your audience to remain engaged with your content, you need to make sure you’re offering something of value. For some readers, that means offering a special discount or an exclusive promotion to your email list. For others that could mean offering a how-to article from your blog or a piece of content that’s more than just the typical sales pitch.

Make it valuable, make it relevant, and make it something your audience would thank you for.

If you’re not sure what to send, add a Poll to your email and ask your subscribers what information they’re most interested in.

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5. Measure your results

If you’re not measuring your results, how could you ever hope to improve on the work you’ve been doing?

One of the biggest benefits of using an email marketing service, like Constant Contact, is it’s easy to track your email marketing results.

Your email marketing reports will tell you exactly how many people are opening your emails, clicking your links, and even sharing your content. They’ll also provide insight into the type of information your audience is most interested in and will provide a benchmark to improve upon every time you hit send.

Whether you’re trying to learn more about your readers, provide valuable content, or increase sales — your email reports can help.

Use these tips to improve your next email blast

Thinking of your email blasts as a powerful marketing tool is important to get you in the right frame of mind.

Develop a plan to communicate with your subscribers effectively, start sending valuable and engaging messages, and measure the impact of your efforts to make sure you’re on the right track

Sign-up for email marketing today

How to Make a Newsletter More Engaging With Two Little Words

By Miranda Paquet | Jun 13, 2017how-to-make-a-newsletter-ft-image

Wondering how to make a newsletter that drives action?It comes down to using two simple words:“Read more.”Why? If your business is in the habit of sending jam-packed newsletters, filled with updates, articles, and tips — you might be unintentionally turning your readers off.Rather than overwhelming your subscribers with text-heavy emails, add Read More blocks to let readers quickly skim your emails and find the topics that interest them.This will increase your email engagement and help you learn what topics are most interesting to your audience. 

How to Generate Marketing ROI Through Email Marketing

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Email offers the highest and most measurable returns for businesses.With all the attention garnered by social media and smartphone app marketing, some might regard email marketing as old-fashioned compared to newer tech toys. The contrary is true, however, as email marketing not only remains effective and widely used, but forward thinking businesses are employing customer relationship management, or CRM, to create better targeted and highly personalized customer messages to their data base. Email Marketing reaches customers where they spend a lot of time each day — their inbox.According to a report from the Direct Marketing Association, 66 percent of consumers have made a purchase online due to an email marketing message.For retailers considering where to spend their marketing dollars, few more cost-effective options are better than email. And since response rate is easily tracked, it will always be an excellent tool for determining a retailers return on investment.The Direct Marketing Association reports that email remains unbeaten, with ROI still almost $41 per dollar spent. It has maintained its dominant position in relationship to other Internet channels, which remain far behind in their ROI results: mobile, $10.51; social media, $12.71; display, $19.72 and search, $22.24.But while collection of customer data becomes easier over time, experts say that many retailers are using this valuable information to market directly back to their customers.Its like retailers forget that the customer likes them already and that the customer wants to know more about their business through email. Personalize the MessageTo make email marketing effective, retailers and businesses alike must build a robust customer list to spread the word , wide and far. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this, whether via the low-tech route of sign-up cards at every table, point-of-purchase reminders that lead customers to sign up online or through their smartphones.

All three options are highly successful in enticing customers to contribute information.The best lists are those that capture the most information about each customer. Not only does that cover the basics of names and email addresses, but also the next steps, such as birthdays and special anniversaries, preferred product items — even favourite local sports teams. Clever businesses know to build special events around this idea to encourage likeminded customers to join in the fun.Also, it’s wise to find out what customers want from your emails. Do they want to know about product updates, promotions, special events and clubs tied to your store? Knowing this information allows the retailer to better target promotions to those who want them rather than sending out a generic email.Not everyone wants the same deal — they want what they want based on who they are. People who deliberately opt in to an email offer want to think they’re special, part of a club of customers who are the only ones getting that offer. You don’t put those offers on Facebook.Sending emails without a clear idea of who’s receiving them depersonalizes the message and makes it ineffective.When someone supplies their email, they want to be contacted. The customers who give us their emails actually want to be part of our loyalty program. They also expect to get some sweet deals.Your email marketing tool must allow for the following to make you a better marketer:

  • Easy self-service local marketing. Especially true for first-time marketers. Owners must be able to market locally within a strong brand identity, and evaluate and improve ongoing efforts.

  • Brand control. Choose a system that allows you to create templates for any marketing that you will carry out, such as email for customer birthdays, new menu items, events or specials. Make sure you can lock down branded sections while providing customizable sections for specific information.

  • List growth. Keep your network’s email lists and sales growing with sign-up tools for Facebook pages and websites as well as business signage or receipts that enable mobile texting or scanning to join.

  • Administration portal. You must be able to track success at both the local and network level through an easy-to-use dashboard.

  • Support. Your online marketing vendor also should provide expert technical and marketing support and services directly to anyone in the network who needs guidance.

Constant Contact and Retail Makeover are working together to help you become a better marketer!

Here is your get started link

Farewell to iconic Honest Ed’s store

The end of an era:

Toronto bids farewell to iconic Honest Ed’s store - The Globe and Mail

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Memories, and a husk of a building, are all that will be left in short time after the discount retailer closes up for good. Over the years, the bargain-basement shop has catered to immigrants and the working class, reshaped life on Bloor and delighted passersby with its gimmicky signs - a testament to Ed Mirvish's personality and business acumen.(Globe and Mail)The end of an era: Toronto bids farewell to iconic Honest Ed’s store - The Globe and MailLINK TO FULL ARTICLE

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday: Essential Marketing Guide

Hello Retailers,You will love this information. Still considering if you should have a website? or maybe your website doesn’t work properly ? Please contact Steve at Retail Makeover Web Design Services: www.retailmakeoverweb.comBlack Friday has quickly turned into one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year, while Cyber Monday has even surpassed Black Friday in sales.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday: Essential Marketing Guide

cyber-mondayBlack Friday has quickly turned into one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year, while Cyber Monday has even surpassed Black Friday in sales. In this article we have cover some amazing marketing tips that pit Black Friday vs Cyber Monday against each other. It may seem like you should take the same approach with both, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.You may also be interested in these articles:Not only are Black Friday and Cyber Monday customers dissimilar, but they expect different marketing tactics and shopping experiences.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Marketing: The Main Differences

Black Friday differs from Cyber Monday in a few ways. The first, most obvious difference, is that Black Friday has been around for a much longer span of time. In the past, Black Friday existed solely as a brick and mortar holiday when people would come out and wait in lines for hours.Therefore, this has carried over to the internet age, where more people expect to get an experience (offline and online) than they would on Cyber Monday. This includes giveaways and raffles. That said, plenty of brick and mortar stores get in on the Cyber Monday fiasco, similar to how online stores take advantage of Black Friday.The average Black Friday shopper is a younger female who may still live at home with parents. Think college students and early young professionals with more willingness to seek out deals because of their youth and budgetary constraints. The numbers show that these women make less than $75K per year and generally don’t have children.Keep in mind, this is the average, so there are still plenty of men and women with children shopping during Black Friday.Women still beat out men during Cyber Monday, but not by nearly as much. The main difference lies in their lifestyles. For example, Cyber Monday females are more often over 30 years old, employed and owning their own home. The chances of getting women with families spikes as well.Considering much of the Cyber Monday shopping is done online, this makes sense, because these types of customers aren’t nearly as willing to brave the cold and wait in long lines.mobile-black-friday-and-cyber-mondayAs for the smaller demographics and overall trends with Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping:

  • Cyber Monday shoppers care more about pricing than brand. That’s not always the case with Black Friday shoppers.
  • Black Friday shoppers are far more likely to complete their shopping in physical stores as opposed to online.
  • Cyber Monday shoppers complete more research online. For example, they look at online reviews more frequently than the average Black Friday shopper, and more of them own smartphones and care about the operating system being used while shopping through a mobile device.
  • Regardless of sex, Black Friday shoppers are generally younger than 24 and without jobs and living with mom and dad.
  • An interesting metric is that both Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers use the internet in some way. Black Friday customers seem to love Pinterest, while Cyber Monday people are all about technology blogs and online magazines.

And Now… Essential Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Marketing Tips

1. If You Can Only Pick One, Go With Cyber MondayYes, both Cyber Monday and Black Friday online sales have been increasing over the past years. However, online stores see far more sales on Cyber Monday than they do on Black Friday. This might have something to do with the fact that some folks still see Black Friday as a brick and mortar day.Regardless of the reasoning, you have a bigger piece of the pie to claim on Cyber Monday.2. Don’t Just Test Your Site..Ensure Its StabilityIt may not seem like keeping your site fast, functional and operational has anything to do with marketing. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, 58% of potential customers decided not to return to a brand during the holidays because of website problems.This applies to both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so we recommend spending extra money to boost your hosting plan, clean up the clutter, focus on landing pages and speed up the checkout process. Your website is the ultimate marketing tool. But a slow one, regardless of your deals, turns a happy shopper into a frustrated one.3. Offer a Price Comparison on Your SiteThis is particularly important for Black Friday, since more shoppers are used to researching online and understanding the differences in prices between your competitors and you. Not only that, but shoppers indicate 33% of the time that they take online comparisons into consideration.black-friday-vs-cyber-monday-marketing-comparisonIt may seem counter-intuitive at first, but providing the tools to compare with competitors at least gives you the benefit of keeping people on your own website. If you feel like your pricing is no match for other companies, we recommend at least implementing a comparison .As always wishing you every success;Barbara