ShortStack Create web Campaigns, Facebook apps, Facebook contests and custom forms 2017-01-20T14:47:31Z http://www.shortstack.com/feed/atom/ Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[When Your Contest is Over, Use Autoresponders to Drive Conversions [Guest Post]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=25198 2017-01-19T22:48:16Z 2017-01-20T14:47:31Z By Ana Gotter Congratulations! You’ve run your contest; your winners have been awarded their prizes, and you’ve gotten useful lead information in return (thanks to contest software). So now what? While the social engagement from contests is extraordinary, the most valuable takeaway from the contests is your users’ contact information. Email addresses, especially, can be used...]]>

By Ana Gotter

Congratulations! You’ve run your contest; your winners have been awarded their prizes, and you’ve gotten useful lead information in return (thanks to contest software).

So now what?

While the social engagement from contests is extraordinary, the most valuable takeaway from the contests is your users’ contact information. Email addresses, especially, can be used to nurture leads and create customers as you send them down the sales funnel. This is where you’ll see the long term—and sometimes short term—monetary ROI from your contests. And the best way to guide contest participants down the digital sales funnel is with email autoresponders.

Autoresponder campaigns are exceptionally valuable—that’s why Shortstack has recently released an autoresponder feature.

This post is going to take a look at several autoresponders to distribute in your contest-related messaging, and how to make them stand out.

Welcome Autoresponder

Send a “thanks for entering”/welcome autoresponder immediately after a user submits their entry.

A welcome autoresponder email sent to leads from social contests should always include:

  • Confirmation of their entry
  • Contest information recap, like when winners will be announced, prize information, or if they can enter multiple times
  • Social sharing/follow buttons prominently displayed, so users can visit you and follow you on a number of social platforms

The welcome email is designed to start the relationship between you and the lead—that’s it. The goal of this email is not to sell or blatantly promote your business; pushing products or services is not something that should happen yet.

Keep the subject line for those autoresponder strictly about the contest; “Thank you for entering our contest!” is all it takes, and users are likely to open this email.

Campaign Re-Engagement Autoresponders

Some contests allow for multiple entries, where users can earn more chances at a prize if they submit more entries or get friends to enter. Some even have a multi-stage process, where users can enter, and then engage in the contest later to vote for a winner. If you’re running a contest that encourages multiple actions from users over a period of time, re-engagement autoresponders can get you the results you want.

These emails, like the welcome email, should focus solely on the contest and not worry about selling or heavy promotion. They should also:

  • Remind users what the prize is and why it’s valuable
  • Remind users how they can earn more entries or continue to participate in the contest
  • Include a CTA to share the contest with your friends and/or to follow your social media profiles
  • Have information with contest participate end dates

These emails should utilize a sense of urgency in order to boost immediate participation. Phrases like “10 days left until we choose a winner!” and “Don’t miss your last chance to win our grand prize” can go a long way to getting you the re-engagement you’re looking for.

Content Autoresponders

If you want your leads to convert into customers, you need to give them value. That’s why most businesses have blogs, and why many offer ebooks for free in exchange for lead information. They get user’s information, and the lead gets something valuable in return.

These emails should:

  • Have content that’s relevant to the contest; if contest’s prize was for a free month to your kickboxing studio, for example, you could link to a blog post on the health benefits of kickboxing or tips on how to warm up before a kickboxing workout
  • Describe the content only briefly before sending them to your site; you want them to get the full information there
  • Choose content that’s value is obvious immediately, like how-to or educational blog posts

Sending relevant, valuable content to your users in an email autoresponder is a great “soft selling” technique that you can use to continue to build your relationship with your contest participants. Sending an email with a quick blurb and link to your blog post can send them to your site. Since plenty of blogs will eventually feature a business’s products, this can be a fantastic introduction to your products.

Discount Autoresponders

Ready to convert your contest entries into paying customers? Offer discounts, free trials, or purchase rewards to those who’ve entered in your contest but haven’t converted yet. Discounts are one of the most effective strategies to nudge leads towards their first purchase. It’s hard to resist the opportunity to save some money, after all!

These emails should include:

  • A discount or reward that is “exclusive” to contest entries or first-time purchases
  • UGC images or reviews to highlight the value of your product, which increases the likelihood and value of conversions
  • A limited timeframe to take advantage of your offer, which increases urgency and drives leads to use the offer immediately

Winner Autoresponders

At the end of the contest, you can use an autoresponder to announce your winner(s). Since a ton of contest participants want to know who won—especially in competition-styled contests—this can also get you a higher percentage of open rates from new leads.

This email should:

  • Include a CTA to follow you on social so that users can “watch for our next contest”
  • Let users know about any upcoming contests or offers
  • Thank them again for participation
  • Have a subject line that mentions naming the contest winners; this can increase open rates

In this email, you can share the winning contest entries, along with other great “honorable mentions.” Sharing UGC works in your benefit for a number of reasons, and featuring it in your email can start to foster a positive relationship with your new leads.

Final Thoughts

Social engagement is great, but to get a financial return from your contests, you need to push users along your sales funnel to convert. Autoresponders—customized for users who have submitted their emails in an entry—can build awareness, familiarity, and trust with leads that come from your social contests, leading to long term client retention and sales.
Want to learn more about Shortstack’s autoresponder feature? 

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Jessica Miller <![CDATA[ShortStack Feature Updates – Media Selector Makeover, Autoresponder Improvements, and More!]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=25174 2017-01-12T23:14:55Z 2017-01-12T22:55:59Z It’s a new year, and do you know what that means at ShortStack? New features and tools to make creating with ShortStack easier!  Even though the holiday tradition at ShortStack includes taking a little time off to relax and hang with our families, our engineers returned to work fully rested and fueled with ham and nog,...]]>

It’s a new year, and do you know what that means at ShortStack? New features and tools to make creating with ShortStack easier!  Even though the holiday tradition at ShortStack includes taking a little time off to relax and hang with our families, our engineers returned to work fully rested and fueled with ham and nog, ready to churn out platform upgrades.

Here’s just a sample of the latest and greatest:

Media Selector Makeover

We rebuilt our Media Selector. We made it better…  faster…  stronger. Not only does it have a fresh new look, it now offers stock images to use in your Campaigns. ShortStack has always been ‘no-designer-skills’ friendly, but with the availability of stock images, your DIY Campaigns will look more eye-catching than ever.

More Email Autoresponder Upgrades

Our new email autoresponder feature has been hugely popular. After just 2 months, our users have sent more than 266,000 autoresponders from their Campaigns. But what’s really impressive is that users who have been using our autoresponders have an average open rate of 44.69 percent. That number is especially impressive when you consider that the average email open rate is 25 percent!

With such an amazing response, our Developers have been working to keep making this feature better and better. We’ve just added some email templates, a “Reply To” option (for users on Business/Full Stack Plans and higher) and also the convenience of being able to “Save and Activate” in one click. And if that wasn’t enough, the autoresponders are also tracked in your Campaign’s analytics dashboard.

Better Defaults

More and more of our users are publishing their Campaigns as a landing page and promoting them as such. To give you a better preview of what your landing page will look like, the Campaigns will preview in fullscreen in the Campaign Builder by default.

Also, when adding a hyperlink in any Rich Text Editor within ShortStack, when clicked on, the link will open in a new window, by default.

Platform upgrades happen so often, we can’t list them all here. Check out our changelog for updates on new features as they hit.

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[How to Use User-Generated Content to Capture Customers [Infographic]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=25094 2017-01-05T19:29:21Z 2017-01-05T19:20:12Z Do you have a friend who can’t resist taking photos of her latest Hello Fresh meal creation on Facebook? How about a colleague who posts her OOTD on Instagram? If you own or manage a business, this trend — everyday people promoting products they use, even if it’s just to their friends — is worth paying attention...]]>

Do you have a friend who can’t resist taking photos of her latest Hello Fresh meal creation on Facebook? How about a colleague who posts her OOTD on Instagram?

If you own or manage a business, this trend — everyday people promoting products they use, even if it’s just to their friends — is worth paying attention to.

In fact, user-generated content (UGC), which serves as word-of-mouth advertising, shows no signs of slowing down. And that’s why brands are taking advantage of it.

According to a 2016 Business Insider report, people who “interact” with UGC are 97 more likely to buy a product than customers who don’t. And according to Olapic, the ways in which millennials and boomers use  and interact with UGC is very different.

For example:

• Millennials say having real people featured in a post makes the branded image more authentic while boomers say the product or service matters more.

• Millennials trust UGC significantly more than they trust brand-created content.

• Millennials rank Instagram as their favorite social platform while 90 percent of boomers prefer Facebook.

• 54% of millennials use hashtags to let friends and the brand know they use a product; 50% of boomers don’t use hashtags.

• 76% of 1000 U.S. residents surveyed for Olapic’s research say they find content posted by other consumers to be more honest than brand content.

• 27% of people surveyed say they are now turning to UGC instead of ads before making a purchase.

Ready to build a UGC hashtag contest or other campaign?

Set up a free ShortStack account and we can help you with that!

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[10 Web Design Trend Predictions for 2017 [Infographic]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=24946 2017-01-02T23:31:54Z 2017-01-03T13:28:43Z It’s a new year and you know what that means: new goals to set and design tweaks to plan. Today’s infographic outlines 10 web design trend predictions for 2017, offers plenty of things to think about. 1. Micro-mini interactions Micro-mini interactions are interactive animations that can make user interface more appealing. The animations can communicate state...]]>

It’s a new year and you know what that means: new goals to set and design tweaks to plan. Today’s infographic outlines 10 web design trend predictions for 2017, offers plenty of things to think about.

1. Micro-mini interactions

Micro-mini interactions are interactive animations that can make user interface more appealing. The animations can communicate state and provide feedback and even help people visualize the results of their actions.

2. Weather app development

Apparently weather apps are in high demand. Go figure. According to WP Shrug, the company that offers WordPress support and maintenance, and who made this infographic, plenty of UX designers are focusing on weather apps.

3. A mobile-first approach

This isn’t exactly new, but now that more people connect to the Internet via smart phones and tablets, making mobile a priority is essential. 

4. Interactive web storytelling

It might seem counterintuitive but one of the ways web designers are creating more natural interactions for users and companies, is with chat bots.

5. More responsive design

Responsive design makes websites more dynamic, allowing for its contents to adjust and even be rearranged, depending on the screen size the content is being viewed on. It’s right up there with “mobile first” in terms of design priorities.

6. Hapnotic feedback

Haptic feedback is the technology, which refers to the use of sense of touch in a user interface, such as a virtual keyboard.

7. Original images and typography

Unique typography, personalized illustrations (like the ones our designer creates for every blog post!) and authentic photography; here’s how to create designer quality images for free.

8. More flat design

Flat design, like Google’s website and Pinterest cards — in which sections of content are displayed as individual cards — make it easy to navigate around a website.

9. Parallax scrolling

Parallax is a scrolling mechanic which gives the illusion of a 3D experience to users. It can make websites look more dynamic.

10. Performance and intelligent analytics insight

Insights should go beyond views and unique visitors. When insights tell you which part of a website could be improved, or discarded, a brand can increase engagement with its customers.

For more details on each of these trends, read the whole infographic below.

12-28_web-design-trend-predictions-for-2017-png-1

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Ashley Hennefer <![CDATA[Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2017]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=24935 2016-12-22T19:30:38Z 2017-01-02T14:55:38Z The new year is an ideal time for marketers to branch out of their comfort zones and take advantage of emerging trends and developments using the tools we all love. Here at ShortStack, we’re always looking for ways  marketers can implement new ideas into their promotional efforts, and then share what we learn with our readers....]]>

The new year is an ideal time for marketers to branch out of their comfort zones and take advantage of emerging trends and developments using the tools we all love. Here at ShortStack, we’re always looking for ways  marketers can implement new ideas into their promotional efforts, and then share what we learn with our readers.

In this, our first post of 2017, we’re offering four predictions — based on research — for marketing and promotion trends we’re likely to see throughout the year. At the end of the year, we’ll revisit these to see how accurate we were!

Trend #1: Marketers will embrace machine learning and automation

Machine learning is using artificial intelligence (AI) to learn customer trends and behaviors. This can take the form of automation to streamline customer loyalty, or using chat bots to help customers better connect with a company’s support resources. We’ve also seen platforms integrate more AI-type features to help get customers more quickly acquainted with a certain product or service, taking tutorials and wizards to the next level.

According to SmartInsights, marketing automation will be one of the top marketing trends of 2017. Luckily, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to automation, so marketers can get really creative with it to serve the needs of their business.

Marketing automation will be one of the top marketing trends of 2017.

If this seems daunting to you, we recently created the ShortStack Guide to Marketing Automation to help you use ShortStack more efficiently, even as an adjunct to your other favorite marketing tools. Automation is just one branch of machine learning, but it’s a good introduction to how automation can help you reach your goals.

Don’t worry, we’re not on the precipice of a Westworld future (yet), and using automation doesn’t have to mean sacrificing authenticity. When used thoughtfully, automation tools can handle some of the more menial tasks so you can spend your time on connecting directly with your target audience.

Trend #2: Marketers will focus on omni-channel and mobile-dominant promotions

We’ve written extensively about the benefits of omni-channel promotions, which refers to promotions that are created to be accessible from multiple platforms, such as a Campaign published to Facebook, embedded on a website, added to an Instagram bio, and shared as a landing page. We predict that this is the year we’ll see more marketers take this approach, branching outside of just one social media platform. As a result, marketers will likely see an increase in leads collected from multiple sources. With ShortStack, you can see where leads came from, making it easy to create segments of these users.

Many marketers will take this a step further this year and think about promotions that are almost exclusively mobile, thinking beyond the desktop experience, and creating campaigns and landing pages made with the mobile experience in mind. This means campaigns that are readable, and easy to use on mobile devices.

A recent report from eMarketer delved into the data about multiscreen marketing campaigns, which refers to campaigns that are promoted across platform, such as a television ad with a mobile landing page to capture data from those who were interested in the ad. Experts stress the need to make the mobile experience top-notch, as smartphones and tablets “account for more than half of internet-connected devices in US households,” according to eMarketer’s 2016 data.

Trend #3: Marketing campaigns will feature live video

If 2016 was the year live video really took off, thanks to apps like Facebook Live and Periscope, 2017 will be the year that marketers really get creative with it. We’re expecting to see live video become an active part of many promotional efforts worldwide. As of now, it’s still hard for marketers to capture data from live video to use for follow-up efforts, but you can try creating a landing page to take advantage of the interest in your livestream.

According to a recent article on Social Media Examiner, marketers are tapping into live video tools like Snapchat and Periscope to incentivize engagement. And while HubSpot names live video one of the top four marketing trends of 2016, it’s still new for most business owners. Marketers can look at successful examples such as Lowe’s Black Friday offers life stream, which broadcasted on Facebook Live to 32,000 people.

Because of success stories like this, we predict that live video will be embraced not just by larger companies with larger follower bases, but smaller businesses, too, as a way to help build brand exposure. Instagram just announced their live video feature, and marketers can also experiment with Facebook Live and Periscope. Facebook Live even includes a live audio feature now, so it will be interesting to see if live audio also has the same appeal as live video.

Small business owners and marketers can take advantage of these free tools. It helps to create some buzz about your live stream, especially if you’re broadcasting for the first time, by creating a campaign to capture data from those interested. This is a good first step for building a viewership. And remember: your live video doesn’t have to be perfect! It’s a chance for people to learn about the people behind the brand.

Trend #4: Marketers will focus on creating customer loyalty programs

We geek out big time about customer loyalty here at ShortStack, so we’re excited to see marketers focus more on developing customer loyalty programs. A big reason for this is the rise of the subscription model. This refers to people subscribing to your goods or services on a recurring basis, rather than making one-time purchases.

The subscription model is dominating startups and independent businesses right now. But a subscription only works if there is customer buy-in, and not just monetarily. Customers have to feel some personal connection with your brand so that they continue spending money with your service.

According to Statista, 81 percent of financial companies specifically use customer retention metrics to determine success of their customer loyalty program. SmartInsights expects subscription-based business models to increase significantly in 2017. It’s worth launching your customer loyalty program in January to start gathering data on what works and what makes your customers stick around.

The first step to creating a customer loyalty program is to create an email list. Email marketing is vital to any successful marketing effort, so the new year is a great time to start one! An email list can help you keep in touch with specific groups of your target audience. Create a ShortStack newsletter signup, and after you’ve collected emails, you can set up an autoresponder to offer them a special discount as a thanks for signing up. From the first interaction with them, you’re welcoming them to your brand and giving them a reason to stick around.

Let us know if you try out any of our predictions in your campaigns this year! If you’d like to share your experience, send an email to ashley@shortstacklab.com.

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[9 Ways to Leverage the Data You Collect From Your Fans During the Holidays]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=20570 2016-12-23T20:52:45Z 2016-12-28T14:39:38Z Unless you’re a large brand that everyone has heard of, chances are you’re always looking for ways to engage with and learn about your fans and potential customers. Contests and promotions remain a fun way for followers to interact with their favorite brands. After all, who doesn’t love winning a contest? I can go buy myself...]]>

Unless you’re a large brand that everyone has heard of, chances are you’re always looking for ways to engage with and learn about your fans and potential customers.

Contests and promotions remain a fun way for followers to interact with their favorite brands. After all, who doesn’t love winning a contest? I can go buy myself a new t-shirt but if I win one (even if it has a brand’s logo on it), it’s so much cooler!

However, contests and promotions are only powerful if you do something with the data you collect.

We also understand that sometimes it can be hard to see the bigger picture and know exactly what your next move is going to be.

That’s why today we want to provide you with 9 ways that you can leverage the data you collect from your fans.

#1. Run an Email Marketing Campaign

This is by far the most common and successful strategy we see. First off, our research has shown that 94.7% of brands use their promotion forms to collect an email address.

 Another study, done by McKinsey & Company, found that email is nearly 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring customers.

People are on social media to be social (duh!), and most people don’t want to be sold. However, most people are more than willing to provide their email address for a chance to win something.

It’s best to do a little research before diving into your marketing campaign. What marketers are sending, versus what consumers are consuming is a little off.  For example, according to Business2Community these are the top three uses of emails:

• Newsletters (66%)
• Promotional content (54%)
• Welcome series emails (42%)

However, these are the most effective emails:

• Mobile opt-ins (76%)
• Birthday emails (75%)
• Transactional emails (74%)

The takeaway — don’t rush the sale on social or via email. Use your promotion or contest to collect an email address (and maybe even some additional information, like a birth date) and craft a strategic email marketing campaign that will keep you in communication with your fans even when you’re not on social media.

#2: Keep the Conversation Going

One of the best examples we’ve seen of a company that kept the conversation going through the data they collected from a promotion was when loan servicer, Great Lakes, used a Facebook giveaway to help their customers learn more about student loan borrowing.

Great Lakes promotion featured a quiz with five questions relating to student loans. Fans were not required to take the quiz in order to enter the promotion, but the educational questions combined with the fact that everyone loves a quiz, attracted their entrants to participate. While Great Lakes grand prize was a $6,000 payment towards a student loan, they closely monitored their quiz answers and used that to craft their social media and email marketing messages to their followers. They were even able to provide resources to help address the questions they were seeing from their followers.

Hundreds of fans Liked, Commented and Shared the sweepstakes and were exposed to the additional resources and tips that Great Lakes was posting on their Timeline. Compared to a year before, the percentage of fans that had a direct conversation with Great Lakes on Facebook tripled.

Sometimes the most powerful data you can collect is knowledge. Getting creative with your promotions and contests can lead to invaluable conversations with your audience.

#3: Ask for Reviews/Feedback

Reviews and feedback can help draw more customers to your business, more eyes to your website and more money in your pocket.  With the number of review sites out there, most people understand the importance of a review and are more than willing to share their opinion.

If you’re one of the 94.7% of people who are collecting an email address from your followers, use one of your emails to ask your customers for some feedback or to review your brand/product. If you know you plan on eventually asking for reviews/feedback from your entrants, it may be worth it to add some additional form fields such as whether they’re an existing or new customer, how long they’ve been a customer, etc. This will help better analyze the feedback you receive.

If you’re asking for testimonials, make sure you ask for permission to feature the testimonial on your website/blog/social networks.

#4: Offer Something Exclusive

Even though email marketing is still a majorly successful communication tactic, people are still inundated with emails every day, and marketers still need to find a way to stand out in the crowd.

Exclusivity is a great way to not only incentivize your entrants but to also get a little more out of your fans than you previously would have.

Let’s say you’re a beauty salon and you run a promotion where you ask fans to provide their email address for a chance to win a beauty package, then you include a link that suggests they subscribe to your email list, which one sounds better?

• Subscribe to our email list!
• Subscribe to our email list and receive a free gift!

Obviously a free gift is much more enticing than simply subscribing. Exclusivity instills excitement for your product, and excitement for your product builds brand loyalty. Loyal fans mean loyal customers!

#5: Offer a Discount

More than 93% of Americans use couponsThis means that those price-conscious shoppers are more likely to hit up your business if they’re offered a little discount of some sort.

Offering a coupon is pretty simple, it can be done as a promotion or it can be another email marketing strategy (are you seeing a trend here?!)

If you’re wondering what types of coupons sway online shoppers, research has shown that deals that offer a specific dollar amount off of a purchase rank most favorably. On the other hand, free shipping is not appealing to consumers so try and come up with something a little more valuable.

#6: Educate

As marketers, it’s hard to not think about the sale. Ultimately, every business’s goal is to get a sale! However, the path taken to get to a sale has vastly changed.

As I’ve previously mentioned, people on social don’t want to be sold and marketers are fighting to stand out in the social, email, and online crowds.

Sometimes, well most of the time, the most successful path you can take to the sale is an educational one.

Whichever data you collect from your fans; email address, location, favorite activities, life stories, etc., use that information to simply educate your fans further about your brand and industry.

Depending on your business, there’s a chance that your customers don’t need your product on a daily basis. This means that when it is time for them to need you, you want to be top of mind. This is where educational marketing really steps in. Positioning yourself as an expert in your field and continuing to educate your fans and followers without selling them will mean that once it’s time for them to need your product, they’ll think of you first.

Some of the most valuable ways to educate consumers is through infographics, eBooks, free resources and content marketing.

You can use any additional data that you collect from your fans to target your educational materials.

#7: Start a New Project

Crowdsourcing is another top way we see businesses using ShortStack.com. That’s because social media provides you with access to a larger audience than anywhere else in the world, so why not take advantage of that?

If you’ve been wanting to add some new products, a social marketing campaign can be the perfect place to start. Ask your fans what they’d like to see you start next, or if you’ve narrowed down a few ideas, have them vote on their favorite.

Don’t have plans or hopes of adding a new project? That’s okay, you should still be closely listening to your fans when you run promotions.  Their answers could spark an idea for a new product.

A while back we launched our campaign builder and while we were still in the feedback stage, we ran a promotion for some free plans and we asked fans to provide us some feedback about the campaign builder. It helped us shape the campaign builder into what it is today and even add some new features we learned our customers would love to see.

#8: Run Advertising

Data-driven advertising is perhaps the most personal and successful form of advertising available to marketers. Your customers expect a tailored message delivered to them that peaks their interest and doesn’t waste their time.

As a matter of fact, there’s a lot of pressure on marketers to deliver a seamless and relevant experience to their customers.

Fortunately, social networks and online advertising outlets have made it convenient to target advertising as long as businesses are collecting the right data.

Our favorite way to target people is using Facebook ads. Facebook ads are cost effective and we believe the targeting options are the most accurate of any advertising option.  Using a marketing campaign and Facebook ads you can target via email address, interests, hobbies, job function, actions taken, website retargeting, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  So the next time you build your marketing campaign, consider which data you can collect to help you run some valuable ads.

#9: Analyze and Learn

Perhaps one of the most valuable ways to use your data is for analyzing and learning purposes. Look at your lead data through an analytical lens. These are the direct results of your Campaign. The amount and the quality of the responses is a good indicator of success. This information can also help drive the decisions and goals for your next Campaign. Didn’t get the responses you wanted? Try changing the language on your form, or asking questions in a different way (such as using checkboxes instead of a dropdown menu).

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[The Ultimate LinkedIn Cheatsheet]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=24857 2016-12-22T19:36:54Z 2016-12-22T19:36:54Z If sprucing up your LinkedIn profile has been on your to-do list for awhile, consider today’s post a prompt. Leisure Job‘s Ultimate Cheat Sheet promises to help you achieve LinkedIn profile perfect in just seven steps! Here’s a quick overview of the elements to include: Your name! Include your first, last and middle names. A headline....]]>

If sprucing up your LinkedIn profile has been on your to-do list for awhile, consider today’s post a prompt.

Leisure Job‘s Ultimate Cheat Sheet promises to help you achieve LinkedIn profile perfect in just seven steps!

Here’s a quick overview of the elements to include:

  1. Your name! Include your first, last and middle names.
  2. A headline. Write a succinct and creative headline that includes important key terms.
  3. A customized URL.
  4. A professional profile photo.
  5. A summary of your background. Keep is succinct and include any relevant media (blog posts, slideshares, podcasts, etc.)
  6. Your experience. This section is a complement to your resume. Use the space to include details you’re not able to include on your resume.
  7. Projects. Add products that showcase your skills.
  8. Education. Include information about schools you’ve attended and degrees you’ve acquired.
  9. Skills and endorsements. If you have skills that give insight into your professional roles and experiences, include them.
  10. Groups. Joining groups will help you connect with people who share your professional interests.

Complete those ten elements and you’ll be on your way to building an “all star” LinkedIn profile. Believe it or not, only 51 percent of people have completed all the elements of their profile. If yours is complete you will be more easily found in LinkedIn search results.

Check out the infographic below for dozens more suggestions about building a solid LinkedIn profile.

www-leisurejobs-1

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[How a Niche Retailer Grew their Email List by 22% Using ShortStack[New Case Study]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=24361 2016-12-23T20:53:08Z 2016-12-18T18:52:25Z Perky-Pet recently wrapped up a giveaway that helped the company build a new targeted email list: bird watchers. Here’s a look at what their goals were when they set out, and how they used ShortStack to meet them. What was the “problem” you were trying to solve with your Campaign? Perky-Pet, a sponsor of the Cornell...]]>

Perky-Pet recently wrapped up a giveaway that helped the company build a new targeted email list: bird watchers. Here’s a look at what their goals were when they set out, and how they used ShortStack to meet them.

What was the “problem” you were trying to solve with your Campaign?

Perky-Pet, a sponsor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s West Texas Hummingbird Web Cam, wanted to increase awareness of the cam and get people excited about watching and learning more about a wide variety of hummingbird species in a unique setting.

The cam is located in the mountains outside Fort Davis, Texas, at an elevation of over 6200 feet. This site hosts a total of 24 Perky-Pet Grand Master hummingbird feeders and during peak migration can attract hundreds of hummingbirds from a dozen species that are migrating through the arid mountains.

What were your goals?

Beyond increasing awareness and boosting engagement with the cam, we also wanted to educate people on how to properly feed hummingbirds and care for their hummingbird feeders. We created a landing page on birdfeeders.com that included access to the cam as well as a downloadable PDF entitled “Getting Started with Hummingbirds.”

We also wanted to develop brand advocates by engaging users with a unique experience (watching the cam) while giving them the opportunity to engage in a fun, low-barrier to entry sweepstakes with the chance to win a prize. (Three $50 Visa gift cards were awarded each week of the 4-week campaign.)

Another campaign goal was to gather new leads (opt-in email addresses) that could be added to the current email list.

How did you fulfill them using ShortStack?

We created a fun, interactive campaign using ShortStack’s “Vote to Enter Sweepstakes” template. We featured six photos from the web cam and named the hummers after famous Hollywood stars (“Richard and Elizabeth” and “Clark and Grace” ….). To enter the sweepstakes, fans were asked to cast their vote for their favorite cam star.

We wanted to give our fans a way to increase their odds of winning, while simultaneously boosting engagement in the ShortStack campaign. We accomplished this by giving fans the opportunity to cast their vote for their favorite cam stars once a day, every day, for the duration of the sweepstakes. (We were able to set how often people were allowed to vote by creating a custom ShortStack entry form) The more they voted and entered the sweepstakes, the better their odds of winning.

In order to generate email leads, we added a custom ‘check box’ field to the entry form, incorporating the ‘checked by default’ ShortStack feature. Sweepstakes entrants could elect to join the Perky-Pet mailing list to receive occasional emails with expert bird feeding tips and special offers. Entrants who didn’t want to join the list or already subscribed, could uncheck the box.

Can you share any promotion strategies you used?

Throughout the duration of the 4-week campaign, we ran Facebook ads/boosted posts to drive awareness of the campaign and increase engagement with the sweepstake and cam.

We also cross-promoted the campaign on all of Perky-Pet social platforms, announced the cam in the Perky-Pet eNewsletter, and published the campaign on Facebook and the web.

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To help spread the word about the sweepstakes, we successfully reached out to several large, reputable sweepstakes websites and asked them to share the "Hooray for Hummingbirds Sweepstakes" on their website.

What was your advertising budget? 

Perky-Pet didn’t want to divulge their ad spend but here are some results from the Facebook ad campaign:

  • Cost per result (post engagement) - $0.06
  • Total reach – 62,875
  • Post engagements - 7861

What was the result of your Campaign?

  • 5649 votes cast for favorite hummingbird stars
  • 4479 sweepstakes entries
  • 863 new opt-in email subscribers -- a 22.5% increase

Hummingbird Cam Views and Watch Time from August 29 to September 25:

Average views/day: 5,857 (21.4% increase)

Total views: 175,710 (17.4% increase)

Watch time: 5,536,854 minutes (27.5% increase)

How will you use the information you collected with your campaign? 

We added the new email subscribers to the current Perky-Pet list. Emails are a key communication tool for Perky-Pet. They have a very robust ecommerce business (in addition to their national retail distribution) and they send out weekly emails with online specials, birding tips, etc., so growing their email list is always a key goal.

We analyzed the results of our FB ad campaign and learned that women aged 45+ were the most engaged campaign users. We also learned that the majority of people who entered the contest entered via a mobile device vs. desktop. We were also able to pinpoint the regions of the country where most users were from. All of this will be valuable information for future campaigns.

What were your favorite things about using ShortStack?

There’s much to like! I like the variety of templates available and the fact that you can easily customize them and the entry forms to fit your particular needs. I also think the online support is fantastic – special kudos to Jane and Ashley!

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Ashley Hennefer <![CDATA[How to Use Prizes and Rewards in Successful Promotions [GUIDE]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23326 2016-12-23T20:54:19Z 2016-12-15T20:40:27Z Download our new guide, The Elements of a Prize: How to Use Prizes and Rewards in Successful Promotions, or read it below! If you’ve created a giveaway or contests for marketing purposes, you’re part of a long tradition of “prize marketing,” which uses the incentive of a prize to reward people who participate in a sweepstakes,...]]>

Download our new guide, The Elements of a Prize: How to Use Prizes and Rewards in Successful Promotions, or read it below!

If you’ve created a giveaway or contests for marketing purposes, you’re part of a long tradition of “prize marketing,” which uses the incentive of a prize to reward people who participate in a sweepstakes, giveaway or contest. And over time, strategies of what prizes work best have evolved. A prize is a vital component of a successful sweepstakes, but there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.

In The History of Sweepstakes, authors Lawrence Curtin and Karen Bernardo explore the fascinating culture of sweepstakes, which dates back to ancient times. Originally, a sweepstakes or a raffle was intended to engage communities and rally people together for a common cause. All members of society participated in giveaways during holidays or times of celebration. Merchants in medieval Italy were the first to employ prize drawings as a sales promotion.

These days, the purpose of running a giveaway is threefold: to create awareness of your brand; to generate engagement among your target audience; and to gather leads that have a high chance of converting. The prize is the catalyst for this. Using a prize in a giveaway, contest or sweepstakes motivates people to participate. This drives many social media marketing efforts, including crowdfunding, in which those who contribute receive something in return besides the product to which they’ve contributed.

To determine which prizes work best, we’ve been conducting an ongoing study about what types of prizes motivate the most participation and engagement in ShortStack Campaigns. For the past four years, we’ve tracked notable Campaigns from small and large brands alike, and we’ve identified several best practices for integrating prizes into a marketing strategy.

About ShortStack

ShortStack is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that gives users the tools to develop marketing Campaigns. ShortStack was one of the first companies to see potential in Facebook as a place to host tabs, contests and landing pages.

We refer to anything made with ShortStack as a “Campaign”; this term is all-encompassing for contests, giveaways, promotions and landing pages created with ShortStack. More than 4 million Campaigns have been created with ShortStack, and many of those Campaigns were promotions that included a prize. We identified successful Campaigns by brands including Camp Chef, Tootsie Pops, Star Fine Foods, Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, and Great Lakes, and studied their Campaigns to see how their prizes fit into their strategy. Here’s what we learned.

Best Practice #1: Pick a prize relevant to your brand

It’s important to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to entries. The goal is to draw people to your brand who may actually buy your products or services, so you want to attract people who are interested in your services. Consider making your service the prize.

According to ShortStack CEO Jim Belosic, “The prize you choose has to fulfill two roles: It must attract your target audience and it must showcase your product or service. It’s an incentive and an advertisement.”

Selecting a big prize that sounds trendy or valuable, such as an iPad or cash, may mean that you’ll get a lot of entries and followers. Based on these initial numbers, it looks like the Campaign is a success. But as soon as your Campaign is over, many of the people who followed you and entered may unfollow or unsubscribe. Why? Because they just wanted that iPad, and may not have been interested in your services (unless you happen to sell iPads!).
Even of your service itself isn’t the most glamorous or enticing, you offer it for a reason. “You might have to get creative if you think your product or service is ‘boring,’” says Jim. “Sell mops? Don’t stress; do a promotion to win a mop and a year of housecleaning service.”

When users win a prize linked to your service, they’re also more likely to share their prize with their social networks, especially if there is an incentive to do so. It helps attract a targeted audience. Jim puts it like this: “If you are a CPA and giving away a free tax return service, your target audience is more likely to share the contest with other interested people, like other business owners.”

Organic sharing like this is invaluable, as it’s essentially a word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendation for your brand. And if the prize is something your company offers, or is directly linked to it, new people will be interested in participating in your next Campaign to learn more about your brand.

Case Study:

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa gave away a two-night getaway to help increase engagement during the late winter, early spring — which happen to be the hotel’s off-season. They published their Campaign as a landing page, and also to Facebook, where they receive a lot of organic engagement. Because their prize was also what they “sell” — lodging — they were able to collect user information that they can market promotions to throughout the year. This Campaign received a 78 percent increase in entrants and a 141 percent increase in Campaign views, compared with previous Campaigns that were published to Facebook only.

Best Practice #2: Diversify your prizes

Offering more than one prize might seem like an effective way to attract more entrants to a contest. However, giving away multiple prizes can actually have the opposite effect. According to a report in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, offering more than one of the same prize doesn’t cause participants to perceive their odds of winning as better. The researchers attributed this to consumers being unable to evaluate the value of prizes when there are more than one available. There is a subconscious assumption that offering more than one of the same prize diminishes the value of it, and there’s less of that nail-biting excitement to participate. However, there is a benefit to offering more than one prize if the prizes are all different. When you offer different prizes at different levels, users feel like they have a higher chance of winning something.

If you plan to give away more than one prize at a time, consider offering prizes in tiers — for instance, first, second and third place prizes. A fun approach for users is to give them the option to pick their prize, such as in ShortStack’s Pick Your Prize template. This allows the Campaign creator to display a couple of prize options at different levels of value — such as a coupon, a gift basket, and a gift card — and participants can pick one to enter. Collecting this data allows for easy email list segmentation, or you can combine the data from each prize form to build a new list.

Discount-style promotions are also effective because everyone wins. Traditional giveaways that promote having one grand prize can be viewed as discouraging to many users. The mentality often is since there is such a small chance of winning, why even enter? To avoid this problem, promoting a discount or coupon code through automation — such as an email sign up form that triggers a download button to appear — can be a great solution and alternative to a physical giveaway prize. There is less overhead for the host, too. Discounts and coupons give participants a reason to make a purchase. In other words: Give a little, get a little.

Case Study:

When Tootsie Roll Industries’ Tootsie Pops Facebook Page reached one million fans, they created a Pick Your Prize Campaign to thank their followers. They offered six prizes and let users pick the one they wanted most. The prizes were fun but small, such as a coffee mug, a Mr. Owl pin, candy bags, Tootsie-themed jewelry and phone cases. These tokens of appreciation resulted in high engagement and organic sharing, and ultimately participants were genuinely excited about their winnings.

Best Practice #3: Think seasonally

Seasonally timed prizes are a great way to tie in a promotional theme, as well as attract new users to your Facebook Page. For example, during the first two weeks of February giving away a piece of jewelry or a dinner-for-two giftcard are prize options that are appealing due to their seasonal relevance. Using holidays or well known festive events as a complement to your chosen prize allows for you to be more creative with how you choose to promote your giveaway.

Case Study:

Camp stove manufacturing company Camp Chef ran a successful December giveaway, which resulted in 107% more entries than their usual promotions. This came out to 13,780 entries in 12 days — an impressive feat! Camp Chef gave away 12 products over the course of 12 days, which gave participants many chances to win something. They also marketed the products as gifts, rather than prizes, so even though the participants were still winners, they were actually winning gifts that they could share with their friends and family. Although their busy sales season is summer, taking advantage of the winter holidays allowed Camp Chef to generate holiday business.

Best Practice #4: Reward user-generated content

Contests that require participation from people mean that you get something in return: data. Create a Campaign that takes advantage of user-generated content (UGC) and give a prize to the winner who generates the most engagement. According to Kissmetrics, “Through awards of cash, merchandise, free service and even recognition, you can encourage your readers to help you generate original content — content that will help you build your business and deliver value to your visitors.” UGC is often referred to as “Google Food,” since it makes your brand appear higher in search results.

A UGC contest also turns passive participants into active ones. A photo contest requires a user to take a photo, submit it, and share it to receive votes. This makes people work a bit for the prize. These types of promotions, which are usually focused on increasing engagement and brand awareness, can include different types of prizes. You may consider offering a combination of prizes, such as a free trial of your service or one of your popular products, and also feature the winning photo on your website. This provides the winner with a tangible prize and also incentivizes them to share their winning entry with their networks, once again taking advantage of powerful WOM marketing.

Case Study:

Mediterranean food producer Star Fine Foods ran a successful giveaway in which they had three levels of prizes: a grand prize of $5,000, a first prize of $1,000, and a second prize of a year’s supply of Star Olives. Participants could enter photos, take a quiz or browse recipes; the more activities they engaged in, the higher chance they had of winning. It also gave Star Fine Foods the opportunity to collect a ton of data. This type of contest resulted in an increase of website traffic by 288%.

Best Practice #5: Consider your ROI

A good prize doesn’t have to require a large investment. Remember the goals of the sweepstakes: engagement, awareness and conversion. Those goals should drive the prize you choose. You might be surprised: Giving away a $5 jar of jelly from your homemade canning business can generate just as much engagement as an iPad giveaway, because the participants genuinely care about your product. For your first couple of promotions, try starting with a smaller, less expensive prize. If the results of your giveaway have met or exceeded your expectations, you can feel good knowing you didn’t have to totally break the bank buying your giveaway prize.

Case Study:

Bijou Candles increased their email list by 50% by giving away a signed copy of celebrity stylist Lauren Conrad’s new book, Celebrate, along with a set of their luxury candles. The giveaway package cost the company less than $100, and Bijou received well over that value in return thanks to their increased email list which is now full of qualified leads that have a high chance of converting. The Campaign received nearly 4,000 views and more than 500 entries.

Best Practice #6: Create a great user experience

Should you want to give away a large prize — such as cash, a scholarship or an item with significant value (like a house or a car) — you should also invest time into making your giveaway as beautiful and user-friendly as possible. No matter how good your prize is, users won’t want to participate if the promotion is difficult to find or use. Test the Campaign thoroughly before launch, and make it “omnichannel,” meaning post it to more than one site to ensure maximum visibility.

It’s important to also do your research on the legality of your prize and what winning means for your brand and for the winner. It’s frustrating when a prize results in more stress for the winner, such as unexpected taxes or a delay in receiving it. According to Klein Moynihan Turco, a law firm that specializes in internet gaming law, “After you have decided on the basic structure of your promotional game, it is crucial that you determine all key aspects of the contest (duration, prize amounts, number of prizes, etc.) ahead of time when drafting the all-important contest rules, because once a promotion commences, and the rules are published, it is next to impossible to legally alter material terms. The key with respect to rules drafting is: do not overextend in terms of time or the number or value of prizes.” Spend time drafting rules for your promotion that set clear expectations for when the winner will receive it, and what they need to do on their end. We also recommend having a lawyer review your promotion before it goes live.

Case Study:

Loan provider Great Lakes gave away a $6,000 cash prize to put toward a student loan. Although this seems like a hefty chunk of money, Great Lakes is in the business of money, so the prize also gave them some authority in the realm of loans, and it made the company look very philanthropic. Their Campaign consisted of a quiz to test participants’ knowledge about student loans. Great Lakes also included clearly written rules about the prize, the ways people could enter, and how they could expect to be awarded the winning prize. This Campaign resulted in more than 206,000 entries.

Final Thoughts

A great prize is the nexus of successful giveaways and sweepstakes. It’s what gets people excited about participating in your promotions. To gather high-quality leads that will actually result in more business, choose prizes that are directly linked to your brand to take advantage of that interest in your product or service. Create a great participatory experience for your target audience by making your Campaign easy and fun to enter, and be clear with the rules and conditions. A good prize doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s all about creating the perceived value of the prize and of your brand so that users will want to partake in you have to offer.

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[158 Most Popular Hashtags for Instagram, Marketing and More 2017]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=24427 2016-12-20T23:26:26Z 2016-12-13T14:21:05Z Are you trying to build a bigger Instagram following? Are you looking to use Instagram to market your business? Hashtags can help. When someone clicks on a hashtag, every post that includes the same hashtag will automatically show up. For a business, this is valuable because it can expose your messages to an audience that is...]]>

Are you trying to build a bigger Instagram following? Are you looking to use Instagram to market your business?

Hashtags can help.

When someone clicks on a hashtag, every post that includes the same hashtag will automatically show up. For a business, this is valuable because it can expose your messages to an audience that is looking for something specific, especially if you use keywords that are related to your industry.

If your main goal is brand awareness, consider running a running a hashtag contest or an Instagram Voting Contest. Whatever your Instagram goals, knowing how to use hashtags is essential, and paying attention to popular hashtags will help you get noticed.

Here’s a list of the most popular Instagram hashtags for 2017, based on trends we’ve seen for the last two years. (We will update this post frequently, so be sure to check back).

The most popular Instagram hashtags

100. #birthday

99. #red

98. #workout

97. #sweet

96. #wedding

95. #blackandwhite

94. #instalove

93. #fit

92. #instafood

91. #instasize

90. #flowers

89. #iphonesia

88. #tweetgram

87. #design

86. #instafollow

85. #my

84. #webstagram

83. #followback

82. #christmas

81. #work

80. #blue

79. #instacool

78. #work

77. #blue

76. #pink

75. #black

74. #gym

73. #motivation

72. #yummy

71. #healthy

70. #instacool

69. #hot

68. #iphoneonly

67. #instapic

66. #funny

65. #instagram

64. #night

63. #baby

62. #ootd

61. #makeup

60. #cat

59. #girls

58. #cool

57. #lol

56. #party

55. #foodporn

54. #tflers

53. #hair

52. #photo

51. #sunset

50. #vsco

 49. #dog

48. #lfl

47. #pretty

46. #f4f

45. #travel

44. #sky

43. #music

42. #swag

41. #followforfollow

40. #beach

39. #beauty

38. #sun

37. #vscocam

36. #bestoftheday

35. #fitness

34. #life

33. #amazing

32. #follow4follow

31. #nofilter

30. #style

29. #instagood

28. #nature

27. #likeforlike

26. #family

25. #art

24. #food

23. #instalike

22. #igers

21. #repost

20. #smile

19. #tagforlikes

18. #fun

17. #girl

16. #instadaily

15. #friends

14. #summer

13. #picoftheday

12. #selfie

11. #follow

10. #followme

9. #fashion

8. #happy

7. #me

6. #cute

5. #beautiful

4. #tbt

3. #photooftheday

2. #instagood

1.#love

Follow ShortStack on Instagram. 

*According to Webstagram

 

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