10 Tips to Generate Conversions From Your Website

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Generating conversions is no easy feat. But putting these strategies into practice will help you begin monetizing your website and capturing those potential e-commerce customers.

Acquisition

1. USE REVERSE IP TRACKING

Want to know the identity of your website visitors? Reverse IP lookup software will tell you who is browsing as they browse - so you can reach out immediately.

2. CREATE CUSTOM LANDING PAGES

Create custom landing pages for different user types, for different search terms, and for different traffic sources. Your customers are looking for specific things, and they want to find them quickly.

Layout

3. DON'T NEGLECT THE FOOTER

It's extra website real estate, and a perfect opportunity to promote your social profiles, share your contact details, and reinforce your call to action.

4. STICK TO STANDARD WEB FEATURES

Don't overcomplicate. Users rely on consistent placement of conventional web features, like a company logo in the upper left corner of your site and a search box in the upper right.

Design

5. THE CTA

Less is more. Have a single CTA (not multiple competing ones), make your call-to-action stand out, and limit the number of available links and options.

6. USE RESPONSIVE DESIGN

This should go without saying, but a responsive design makes for a better user experience which, in turn, translates to better conversion rates. Also, black text on a white background works well. As well as being easy to read, it's what our eyes are used to - both online and offline.

Personalized Engagement

7. INCORPORATE LIVE CHAT

You can't give customer care if you're not there. To offer instant support to visitors as they browse, you need a live chat platform on your website. 

8. DISPLAY TARGETED BANNERS

Tracking software can tell you things like visitor location, traffic source, and the number of previous site visits. Use this data to display targeted ads, relevant to the user.

General Tips

9. SPREAD OUT YOUR TESTIMONIALS

Don't make the mistake of lumping them all on one page. Instead, use them in relevant places across your site to reinforce trust. Each page of your website should be designed with a single goal in mind - not with many.

10. EMPHASIZE AUTHENTICITY

Emphasize the authenticity of your business by placing logos of your prominent customers on your homepage, showcasing the recognizable publications you've featured in, and the award you've won.

5 Simple Tips For Making Professional Looking Videos

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Plan Your Content

Outline your goal - What are you looking to achieve? Are you trying to get visitors to your site? Or teach them something new? Define your goal before moving on.

Identify your target audience - Your audience will determine the way you write your script, shoot your video, how you edit it and where you distribute your videos online.

Use the power of emotions - Emotions are what drive viewers to follow your call to action, whether that's subscribing to a channel, sharing your video or buying your product.

Pick the Right Background

The background you choose will depend on the type of video you're producing, your goals and your audience. The main two types are:

Real backgrounds - These include a real-life environment such as an office, a living room or an outdoor location. Just make sure it contributes to your message.

Fake backgrounds - These include green screens, curtains or papers. These are great for consistency.

Composition Rules

Follow the rule of thirds - When you divide the frame into a 3 x 3 grid, it creates intersections that are ideal areas to place your subject.

Mind the head - Don't have too much space above the subject's head, but don't cut the top off of their head either!

Use the Right Lighting

It's best to shoot in any of these three conditions as the natural light is soft and cinematic:

  • Outdoors on a rainy day

  • An hour after sunrise

  • An hour before sunset

If you need to shoot indoors, natural light is still your best bet. Pick a room that gets a lot of natural light through big or multiple windows. You can also add additional sources of light like ceiling lighting or table lamps.

Film in Small Segments

Film short takes - This way, you'll have fewer things to remember and more opportunities to reshoot something you didn't like.

It will also give you more flexibility in post-production to eliminate takes and it won't come out looking choppy.

Meet Communications Specialist: Anna Rich

We’re thrilled to announce the latest addition to the Social Ape team, Anna Rich. Anna is our newest Communications Specialist and will be working closely with clients to help increase their brand awareness through public relations and events.

We asked Anna a few questions so that you can get to know her a bit better. Welcome to the team, Anna!

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Where are you from? How long have you lived in Charlotte?

I was born and raised in Charlotte. My parents still live in the same house that I came home from the hospital to. I've been away for about a decade, in between college at Wake Forest University and living in Washington, D.C. for the past five years after graduation. I'm excited to be back! I love Charlotte because it has all the offerings of a big city but still feels like the comfortable, homey place that I grew up in. 

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Who is someone you admire, and why?

My parents. When they first married, they lived in Indianapolis and then Denver, far from family, and just had each other to rely on when raising two young kids (my older siblings). They've been married 40 years and have set a great precedent for my own marriage as we just crossed the one year mark. 

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Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...

During the fall, you can find me sipping coffee while watching college football highlights and prepping for the Panthers game. When it's not fall, my routine is pretty much the same - just add Food Network into the equation. Pancakes, too.

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Your top 3 favorite Podcasts/Books?

-Harry Potter series (Cliche I know, but I re-read the whole series at least once a year and find new details every time)

-Jane Eyre (There's a reason it's a classic)

-The Devil in the White City (Or any good historical fiction) 

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Outside of work, what do you do in your spare time?

Hang out with my husband, Graham, and our chocolate lab, Nola. We enjoy getting out and exploring, whether that be hiking, going to a museum, or visiting a local fair/festival. I'm also a big football fan (Go Deacons and Panthers!) and love traveling and trying new recipes in the kitchen."

You can read Anna’s professional bio HERE.

4 Simple Word-of-Mouth Marketing Tips to Boost Business

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Consumers are always interested in hearing about new and interesting products. Before making a purchase, consumers pay attention to what people are saying about it. Here are four must-have tips for word-of-mouth marketing.

1. Encourage User-Generated Content

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User-generated content is content created and shared by consumers about brands or products. It's honest, builds trust, and gives marketers extra collateral to work with.

How can you get users to generate content?

  • Have a unique hashtag to identify content created by customers

  • Incentivize creating and sharing pictures, videos, and GIFs on social media. Offer a free gift, discount, or feature

2. Share Customer Testimonials

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Customer testimonials and reviews can help reassure the performance, quality, and/or value of your service and product and can make consumers feel more comfortable doing business with you. Testimonials can be hosted on your website or pulled from review sites like Yelp & Angie’s list.

3. Offer an Incentive

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Giving your customers a reason to share with others can increase your word-of-mouth marketing as well. Big or small, people are always willing and likely to do something if they receive some sort of value in return. Consider giving your consumers a discount or a free gift in exchange for referrals.

4. Connect With Industry Influencers

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Influencers are exactly what their name suggests: individuals with a strong following and power to influence the behavior of fans and consumers. Because of their already established reputation, word-of-mouth marketing from an influencer is extremely valuable. According to Social Media Today, 40% of people say they've purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube.

20 Amazing Marketing Tools to Help You Grow Your Business

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Are you looking for new tools to add to your arsenal? Whether you need them for account management, automation, analytics, or to just enhance your social media presence and investment, it's never a bad idea to learn about the tools available.

Stay ahead of the curve and check out this list of amazing tools to help you grow your business.

Schedule Posts

1. Sprout Social - Schedule social media posts and analyze performance

2. Later - Plan and schedule Instagram posts

3. Tweet Deck - Manage multiple Twitter accounts

Organize Your Work

4. Trello - Set and organize tasks

5. Station - All your web applications in one

6. UberConference - For conference calls and meetings

Find Keywords

7. Display Purposes - Hashtags for your posts

8. BuzzStream - URL meta tag extractors returns title tag, keywords, description

9. SpyFu - Competitors’ most profitable keywords

Manage Your Social Media

10. EmbedSocial - Embed social media feeds on your website

11. Tweriod - Learn when your Twitter followers are online

Get Publications

12. Expertise Finder - Find journalists interested in a comment

13. Smedian - Find platforms to publish your articles

Write Better Copy

14. Grammarly - Check your text for mistakes and readability

Manage SEO

15. Serprobot - Check your search engine ranking position

16. Screaming Frog - Audit your website from SEO perspective

Send Better Emails

17. SendGrid - Send emails, notifications, and password resets

18. HubSpot Email - Professional signature for multiple email services

Use Design Tools and Editors

19. Crello - Static and animated templates for social media posts, web, ads

20. TinyPNG - Compress images

3 Reasons Why You Should Create a Social Media Calendar

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It is no surprise that social media will drive you ROI if done correctly. According to Quick Sprout, 74% of marketers saw an increase in traffic after spending just 6 hours per week on social media and 78% of Americans say social media impacts their purchasing decisions.

A social media content calendar should:

  • Help develop your editorial strategy

  • Cut extra time out of your content marketing strategy and help you allocate your resources wisely

  • Help you consistently publish high-quality, performing content pieces

  • Organize the way you curate and create content

Why your business needs a social media content calendar

  1. It helps you keep track of what's performing, so you can upkeep your content quality and consistency.

    Strategy:

    • Perform routine checks on what kind of content your audience is interested in

    • Make regular adjustments based on these insights

    • Schedule specific times throughout the month to reevaluate your content and how it performs

    • Use this info to adjust your publishing schedule and social media content

  2. It keeps your channels from poorly timed posts and missing posting dates.

    Strategy:

    • Populate your content calendar with all the dates important to your business

    • Schedule out content for these important dates in advanced

    • Schedule content to go out on holidays that may affect your business

  3. Prevents you from posting poorly researched and written posts

    Fast Company surveyed 330 people on the most annoying thing on social media. 32.4% said "poorly written posts" are the most annoying thing.

    Strategy:

    • Schedule your publish date for your content and assign tasks to your content creator in advance, this allows for sufficient time to do proper research

    • Add protocol for proofreading for quality control

4 Apps to Help you Stay Organized

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With a jam-packed schedule each day it’s often times hard to stay organized, so it helps to have apps to simplify our tasks. Whether it’s reminding you to pick up a gift for an employee or pay your monthly power bill, these apps are extremely helpful in keeping you organized.

1. Evernote

Evernote is the ultimate note-taking app. The app acts as a virtual file storage system with multiple notebooks comprised of even more notes. By using the app, you have quick and easy access to share notes or notebooks with your team for feedback and collaboration.  A fun feature of Evernote is the camera function that allows you to scan, digitize, and organize your paper documents, business cards, handwritten notes, and drawings. The app also has a search feature to look up information that would otherwise take a long time to find in a paper notebook. Evernote is a great option to replace note-taking with paper notebooks and also store any important data or information. 

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2. LastPass 

LastPass is the best app for keeping up with all the passwords that you can never remember. All your account passwords are stored within the app and you can also audit your passwords to see which is stronger and create a more secure password. All you’ll need to remember is the master password and the app will autofill your passwords in your web browser and app logins.

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3. Wunderlist

Wunderlist allows you to be productive from anywhere. The app is available for your phone, smartwatch, tablet, and computer. Create, assign, and share your to-dos with the Today widget. With the Wunderlist app, you can also save web pages and articles for later with the Add to Wunderlist sharing extension. The app sets due dates and reminders to ensure you never forget important deadlines (or birthday gifts) again.

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4. Mint

Mint is the perfect app to stay on top of all your finances. Connect your different accounts from your phone bill, car insurance, rent, and other bills to see what you’re spending, where you can save money, and pay bills on time. The app will also set up your monthly budgets and will make you aware when you have exceeded them. Bonus! Mint will also provide you with a free Credit Score once a month, no credit card required.

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3 Tools to Research Your Social Media Competitors

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Spying on your competitors is now easier and cheaper than ever before. Nowadays, it is a company’s ability to track, monitor, and engage on various social media platforms which will help determine success. Below, you'll discover three free tools for researching your competition on popular social media platforms.

1. Klear

Klear is a powerful research tool that can help with your social media strategy. 

After your register for Klear, Simply search enter the competitor's name in the search box and use the autocomplete feature to select the competitor you're researching. It's a great way to get inspired by what they're doing.

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With the free version, you'll receive an Overview of the brand's social profiles, including influence level, engagement levels, actual reach of posts, influential topics, and data about their audience distribution.

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Klear also gives you the ability to view a profile's top posts to see where those posts appeared, how the brand engages on each post, and when the content was posted. 

2. Google Alerts

How do you keep up-to-date with all the mentions of you and your brand or competitors?

Google Alerts is a free tool provided by Google that will send you emails in real time, daily, or weekly when content is indexed that contains the keyword(s) that you have specified. It's a great way to keep tabs on your competition and gain an edge over their efforts. 

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Setting up Google Alerts is simple. You’ll need to be logged into your Google account, so if you have a Gmail address you have a Google account. Once you're there you can type in your search terms and further refine your results from there.

3. Likealyzer

LikeAlyzer is a free online service that helps companies measure and analyze the potential and success rate of a Facebook Page. It allows people to explore the possibilities of their Facebook presence by evaluating activity and dialogue to ensure success.

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Likealyzer is free, users don't have to register and there is no need for application authorization, they simply enter the URL of their Facebook page in the search box and press enter. Not only that, Likealyzer also has this great feature, where you can receive daily updated facebook statistics along with your competitor’s statistics.

How is your business following your competition's moves? Let us know the comments below!

4 Benefits of Using Dropbox Business

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From scrolling through cluttered email threads to opening your laptop on an airplane, only to discover that your files can’t be accessed offline, Dropbox understands and feels your pain. Find out how to overcome key productivity challenges you face in your day-to-day work below!

Conquer Big Files

Do you share mega-sized files with your co-workers or clients? As you’ve probably discovered, trying to send big attachments through email is generally a no-go. It’s easy to share even the biggest of files with Dropbox. Just create a shared link to your file or folder, then copy the link into an email, chat, or text message. Your recipient can then access, preview, or download the file, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.

Work without Wi-fi

No signal on the plane or in the coffee shop? With Dropbox, access your files anytime and anywhere you need them—no Wi-fi connection required. Just mark the files or folders you want to access offline and they’ll sync automatically behind the scenes. You can even mark files for offline access on your mobile devices.

Preview hundreds of file types

Dropbox previews lets you or your file recipients view hundreds of types of files— including Photoshop, Excel, and Sketch files—without specialized software. With Dropbox Business, you can even preview MXF videos, EPUB, CAD, and ZIP files without having to open them.

Eliminate unnecessary emails

Dropbox helps ensure your team is always in sync with:

  • Commenting - With Dropbox, comment anywhere on an image or file— including Excel, Photoshop, and Sketch files—without special software. Send out notifications to collaborators automatically, eliminating the need for messy email threads.

  • Auto-sync for file changes - Get instant notifications when someone views, edits, moves, or deletes files and folders. This way, you’re always in the loop if something changes.

With DropBox Business, you and your team don’t have spend hours or days mastering the art of file sharing and folder organization.

How to Follow Hashtags on Instagram

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Instagram gives users the ability to follow hashtags the same way they follow accounts. When you follow a hashtag, related content will begin appearing in your feed and Stories bar. Find out how to follow a hashtag, either by tapping the hashtag on another user's post or by searching for the hashtag manually below.

How Do You Follow a Hashtag?

When you find the specific hashtag you want to follow, simply click the hashtag to navigate the dedicated page for it. You can also type in a hashtag you'd like to follow in the search tab, then select "Tags" underneath it. 

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Once you're in the hashtag's gallery page, tap the "Follow" button underneath its name to begin following that hashtag. You'll now see content in your Instagram feed and Stories (if any).


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Instagram will then curate your feed with the incoming content depending on how you interact with them and by what Instagram thinks you're interested in (that algorithm!). One downside of this feature is that hashtags can have multiple meanings. This means that you may see posts that you don't want to see. Fortunately, you can easily tap the ellipsis (3 dots next to the post) and choose the "Don't Show for This Hashtag" option or simply unfollow the hashtag.

Why Should Your Business Follow Instagram Hashtags?

The ability to follow hashtags gives marketers another way to reach new audiences, expand your brand messaging, and keep a close eye on competitors in your industry.

1. Follow competitors - If your competitor tends to use a certain hashtag, or even better, has created their own personal hashtag for their business, you can follow their hashtag without them receiving a notification that you’re following.

2. Keep up with trends and industry topics - In addition to following industry-specific blogs, thought leaders, and news magazines, you can now follow what’s hot in your industry by following various industry hashtags. A few popular ones are #digitalmarketing, #webdesign, #emailmarketing, and #SEO.

3. Follow the events - Attending a tradeshow, conference or event and want to keep up with what’s happening? Follow the event hashtag!

While advertising won’t be connected to the hashtags you follow, marketers will undoubtedly want to target consumers based on the interests they are passionate enough to bring into their main feed.