9 Tips for Effective Instagram Marketing and Gaining Followers

Instagram Followers

With these 9 tips you’ll increase your followers and develop an Instagram marketing strategy

In this day and age, almost all customers search for various products and services online before they make a purchase. According to the research conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90 percent of the respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.

In order for businesses to survive in a tough market, their marketing strategies must be strong. This is the reason why small and big businesses ensure that they embrace social media marketing to its fullest. Aside from Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, Instagram is now being used by these businesses to reach more consumers from places all over the world, to sell online, as well as to grow their number of followers and leads. Many businesses dare not let themselves get behind the trend. They want to keep themselves on track. Thus, they are turning to Instagram to reach younger demographics.

Here are ways businesses are using images and videos to enhance their customers’ experiences and boost their online marketing presence:

1. Create Your Brand

Instagram, really is a way to showcase who you are and your brand’s story. It’s where you can showcase your brand even without selling. Younger users tend to get irritated with over-promotion. It’s better to create your own online brand image and focus on how the world can perceive your uniqueness. Come up with creative photos captioned with your own business hashtags.

2. Add Personal Touch

Customized photos and videos with text combinations open doors of businesses to more customers. These “memes” make the business and its products and services more appealing to customers. Moreover, it shows that they care about their public image.

3. Give A “Behind The Scenes” Look

Get a little bit personal with your followers. Give them a sneak peak of what is happening behind those doors, their upcoming events, as well as other happenings. Take for example, the fashion brand Burberry which shares photos of what is happening behind the scenes during their photo shoots and fashion shows. Those candid images definitely help personalize your brand.

4. Use relevant hashtags for more traffic

Attach popular keywords and hashtags to names or descriptions of your images. This leads to more visitor traffic, awareness, as well as engagement.

5. Showcase A Lifestyle

Instagram really lets you show how great your new product or service is without directly selling. Make customers feel excited by showing photos or short video clips of it in action and in real time. For instance, Vans – a famous shoe company, posts photos and videos of its shoes in action which are usually user submitted. It brings more interest to other customers and reinforces your brand’s persona in a very effective manner.

6. Attempt To Host an Instagram Photo Contest

Instagram users are excited about contests. In hosting a contest, use a hashtag that identifies your brand and defines what the contest is all about. This lets you reach more people in your niche. It’s a win-win situation to be fair.

7. Focus On Your Followers

Take time to engage and acknowledge your followers on Instagram. You can like and comment on their photos, reply to their comments on your posts, and @mention them as well. What is more, Instagram also allows you to embed photos on your website. If there’s a really cool image from your followers that you want to showcase on your blog or website, then do it. Just make sure to ask permission first. This creates a more personal connection between you and your followers.

8. Post Consistently

Just like any social media site, it really pays to be always consistent. This gets your brand to be seen regularly by your followers. By keeping your Instagram page fresh and updated, you will get to stay in front of your followers, and they will be more apt to becoming actual customers.

9. Integrate Your Other Social Media Platforms

Connect your website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts so your posts will be displayed on all of your other pages as well. This strategy will give your other social media pages valuable original content, and it even helps co-brand your social media presence.

Clearly, there’s more to just marketing on Instagram than these strategies. Try them out and see how visual marketing can bring success to your social marketing strategy as well as to your business in general. Now, jump on board and go take some great photos and capture videos! Ready to use Instagram in your online business marketing strategy? Do the challenge now!

60 Tips to Grow Your Email List

email list

When it comes to email marketing, you know how valuable your email list can be. Your list isn’t just about quantity though. This isn’t spray and pray marketing. It’s about relationships. You can have 20k people on your list, but if 90% of them have your emails going straight to their spam folder, whats the use? The goal isn’t to build a list of numbers but rather, a list of individuals who you can actively engage and who are willing to support you. You’re trying to build relationships and retain and convert leads, but coming up with new ways to get people to sign up for your emails isn’t always easy. In order to build an engaging relationship with your potential leads you’ve got to treat it like one from the start.  That’s why we put together this collection of list growth ideas! Use these tips to grow your list and take your email marketing relationships to the next level!

Whatever methods you use, be sure to start with a reason “why” someone should join your email list. What’s in it for them? This will make it more likely that people will say yes.

1.  Use a paper sign up sheet. 

Sometimes a physical sheet is the way to go. Putting their name on something tangible can have a lasting effect.

2. Ask face to face.

Just having a sign-up form available won’t always be enough. Train yourself and your employees to always be asking and engaging prospective contacts to sign up.

3. Check your database.

Don’t overlook the obvious. You probably already have a database of contacts who would love to join your list. Ask them to sign up.

4. Ask friends and family.

Look to your personal network to help jumpstart your list growth.

5. Put a fishbowl on the counter at your office and events

This gives visitors incentive to drop their cards in and join your list.

6. Reach out over the phone.

Having a great conversation with a customer or supporter? Keep the conversation going. Ask them to join your email list!

7. Use your sidewalk sign.

Using a sidewalk sign or sandwich board to bring in foot traffic? Tell passersby about all the great info, discounts, and news they’ll find by signing up for your emails.

8. Participate in Small Business Saturday

If there’s one day people are excited about finding new businesses it’s Small Business Saturday. Make sure you’re asking people to join your list when they come in for this special day.

9. Add a sign up form to your Facebook page

Not everyone visits your site directly. Make it easy for fans to join your list by adding a sign-up form to your Facebook page.

10. Tweet it!

Write yourself a note now: “Tweet about my email list once a week.” You should also post about your email list on your other social networks, but less frequently than you would on Twitter.

11. Update your Facebook page cover photo.

You can now include a call to action on the cover photo of your Facebook page. Have some fun with it and ask people to join your list.

12. Buy a Facebook ad.

Supercharge your Facebook list growth with a Facebook ad. Add new fans and new subscribers by driving people to your Facebook sign-up form.

13. Use your Youtube channel

Making the leap into online video? Talk about your emails in a video and tell people where to sign up.

14. Use Foursquare

Foursquare lets you update your business’s info and post alerts to people in the area. Try sharing a link to your sign-up form and see how it goes.

15. Join a LinkedIn group

When appropriate, let members of the same LinkedIn groups know about your email list.

16. Join a Google+ community.

Like LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities are the place Google+ users go to find information relevant to them. Share your latest email and ask members to join your list.

17. Host a Tweet chat.

Tweet chats are a great way to boost engagement on Twitter. It can help you attract new followers and can give you a unique opportunity to grow your list.

18. Use Vine.

Tell people why they should sign up in 6 seconds or less. You can share your Vine video on Facebook or Twitter and can embed it on your blog.

19. Add a signup link to your social bios.

Allow social connections to easily find your email signup form by linking to it in your profiles. Try it on Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Google+.

20. Sample your content on Pinterest.

Create a board on Pinterest and “pin” your email newsletter right when it comes out! Use an image from your email or take a screenshot of your entire newsletter to give readers a preview of your content.

21. Add a signup form to your website.

This one is pretty obvious. Easily add a link to your signup form on your website and collect emails from people who visit your site. Give your signup form plenty of visibility by putting it on every page.

22. Create a “Reason to Sign Up” page. 

Ask your current contacts why they enjoy your emails, and then create a page on your website highlighting the biggest benefits of signing up.

23. Keep your signup form short. 

Don’t ask too many questions. You may miss chances to grow your email list. Keep your signup form short and simple. Only
ask for the information that’s absolutely necessary. You can collect more information down the line.

24. Add to your blog.

If someone enjoys what you have to say on your blog, there’s a good chance they’d want to see your updates in their inbox.

25. Guest blog.

Writing for other blogs is a great way to get in front of a new audience. Include a link to your sign-up form in your author bio. If people like your post, they’ll want to get more information from you.

26. Comment on Blog Posts.

Participate in conversations about your area of expertise on your favorite blogs. When you leave a comment you’ll also be able to add a link back to your website as part of your identifying information. This can lead people to your website where they can sign up for your email list.

27. Test different calls to action.

Similar to AB testing, rewording your call to action is a great way to approach new leads without being repetitive as well as seeing which methods are most effective.

28. Online payment forms.

Collect email addresses when people are making a purchase. Be sure to indicate they’re opting-in to receive future emails from you.

29. Optimize online listings.

Did you know that 49% of small businesses have never updated their online listings? Keep your listing up-to-date and provide a link to join your email list.

30. Use your podcast.

Mention your email newsletter during your podcast. (Have you listened to our weekly Speakeasy Marketing Roundtable
Podcast? Check it out and while you’re there, subscribe to our Hints & Tips newsletter at the top of the page!)

31. Collect emails with an online survey.

Add a sign-up link to your next online survey. Let people share their feedback and join your email list.

32. Promote your email archive.

Use Email Archive to promote your past emails. You can share your archive on your blog, website, and on social media.

33. Put a signup link in your newsletter.

You never know how people are going to find your emails. When new readers find them, make sure they have a way to sign up.

34. Add social share buttons to your email.

Sometimes, the best way to grow your list is to extend the reach of your emails. Add social share buttons to make it easy for people to share your emails on their social networks.

35. Use forward to a friend.

Add a “forward to a friend” button to your emails to help you reach your next subscribers.

36. Your email signature.

Get more exposure for your email list by including a link in your regular emails.

37. Use PicMonkey.

With PicMonkey, you can put text over images—a great way to ask people to join your list! Share your images on Facebook, Twitter, or hang them in your store.

38. There’s an app for that.

Download the Quickview app from Constant Contact so you can enter new emails on the go.

39. Use text to join.

More than half of all Americans now have smartphones. use a Text-to-Join feature to let your people sign up via text message.

40. Use a QR code.

Add a QR code to a flyer, post, or brochure and make it easy for people to scan-to-join your email list.

41. Use an iPad.

Wondering what to do with the new iPad? use it to collect email addresses in-store or at your next event.

42. Use a brochure.

Giving out flyers, brochures, or pamphlets at your store or office? Let people know your emails are the best source for up-to- date information.

43. Run an ad in your local paper.

Get the most out of your print advertising investment. Tell people to visit your website and join your list!

44. Put a link on your business cards.

Work with your business card supplier to add a QR code with a call-to-action to join your email list.

45. Add to your menu. 

Own a restaurant? Add a QR code on your menu and let people join your email list at the table.

46. Use your shipping boxes.

Shipping orders to customers who placed an order online? Put a QR code on your boxes, and encourage customers to sign up.

47. During event registration. 

Stay in touch before your event by collecting email addresses when people register for your event.

48. Collect emails at your event.

Collect email addresses at your event with a paper sign-up sheet, QR code, or even via text-message.

49. Be a sponsor.

Work with other businesses and organizations in your community to host an event. It’s a great way to introduce your business (and your email list) to a whole new audience.

50. Book a speaking engagement.

If people are interested in what you have to say, there’s a good chance they’ll be interested in what you write in your emails. Let people know you have a resource they can sign up to receive.

51. Use your table tents.

Do you use table tents in your restaurant or at your events? Add a QR code and make it easy for attendees to join your email list.

52. Run an in-store raffle.

Raffle off a prize your customers will love and collect email addresses in the process. (let them know that signing up will include them in your email list)

53. Run a Facebook sweepstakes.

With Social Campaigns from Constant Contact, you can run a contest on Facebook and collect email addresses in the process.

54. Start a loyalty program.

Look for ways to reward your customers and grow your email list in the process!

55. Run a birthday club.

Create a club to help celebrate your customers’ birthdays and grow your email list.

56. Run a local deal. 

If you want deal buyers to come back after the deal is over, you need to make it easy for people to join your

57. Ask when someone redeems an offer.

Testing your luck with one of the big-name deal providers? Don’t forget to ask new customers to join your mailing list when they redeem the offer.

58. Offer a coupon on Facebook.

Utilize deal through your social network to lure new customers in and sign up for your email list.

59. Offer a piece of content.

You can offer up a great piece of content—like a whitepaper, eBook, or guide—to entice people to join your list.

60. Offer an incentive to your employees.

Get your employees excited about growing your email list. Offer a prize to the employee who collects the most email addresses.