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Aplus Plastic Box Co has just announced it will have Free Delivery Australia Wide on its #Wheels and Castors range. Its Wheels and Castors range across a wide variety of sizes, capacities and styles coupled with different compound types for various work surfaces.

Free Delivery on these items represents big cost savings for both companies and private individuals alike. We also offer discounts on bulk deals.

Our Australia Day promotion went well and the ever popular #Green and Gold Kits will continue to be available as a standard but at the usual price. Green and Gold theme as been a feature of promotion in recent times that will continue into the future.

During February 2014 we have an exciting new addition with the launch of our Multi Combination Kits which combine a range of product mounted to a single panel. You can purchase a combination of Stor-Pak bins, Drawer Organisers, Visi-Pak and Three Drawer Stor-Pak 63 units. The Stor-Pak bins and panels are available in various colours.

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This Aerial Photographer Took Her Hobby to New Heights With Instagram

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 Natalie Amrossi worked in finance for three years before realizing how social media could help an artist like her make a living.

Peter Kmec courtesy of Natalie Amrossi
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1. Rooftop adventure

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2. Fourth of July

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3. New perspective

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4. Central Park

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Natalie Amrossi was exhausted. She’d been up all night shooting photos of luxury cars, and in the morning, she was struggling to brush off her sleepiness — and her thoughts of the photos of Jaguars on her computer, waiting for her to edit them.

She’d been building a following with her Instagram account, @misshattan, for a year at that point. It was then, at age 25, that she decided to resign from her finance job at J.P. Morgan and pour all of her energy into freelance photography. Her lifelong hobby had become her side gig, thanks to exposure via Instagram. But juggling both was becoming overwhelming.

The native New Yorker’s ultimate passion was taking aerial photos: She started on rooftops, which led to an offer to take her first helicopter ride. Breathtaking shots featuring her legs dangling above skyscrapers became a staple of her brand, but she also lent her skills to companies such as Jaguar, Cadillac, Nike and more. As inquiries piled up in her inbox, she became increasingly confident that she could make a living taking photos full time.

Related: How This Physics Student Turned His Passion for Beautiful Landscapes Into Instagram Fame

Three years later, @misshattan is Amrossi’s brand across a variety of social platforms including Facebook and YouTube, but her largest community is on Instagram, where she has 427,000 followers. Her feed is still mostly comprised of Manhattan cityscapes, but she occasionally posts photos of other destinations, such as Hong Kong or Morocco. When relevant, she features her brand collaborations on her account. Her roster of clients includes tech companies such as Google and Apple, alcohol beverage companies such as Heineken and Absolut Vodka and even travel and tourism organizations such as the city of Las Vegas. She views her photography as a way to chase her own dreams while inspiring others to chase theirs.

Amrossi spoke with Entrepreneur about the opportunities for not just photographers, but artists of all types to broaden the reach of their talents using social media.

1. How did you get your start with Instagram?
A friend of mine recommended that I download the app and check it out. I immediately really enjoyed the interaction from people all over the world. I never knew that I could touch people from different parts of the Earth with my photographs. I kept on posting, because the more I would post, the more engagement I would get.

I was working at J.P. Morgan, straight from college, and it was just a side project, just for posting for fun. Then slowly but surely, my following started to grow, and grow rapidly. I guess a year into it, I hit tens of thousands. Different companies would ask me to take photos for them for their social media. So that’s how that started, in terms of starting my own brand and working with other brands as well.

2. What other platforms do you use and what percentage of the time do you spend on them vs. Instagram?
I definitely spend half of my time on Instagram and the other half of my time on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat — YouTube, even, I’m starting to dabble in.

I think YouTube just tells a story differently. The fans on YouTube, also, if they like travel photography, they’re going to really dive deep and really follow up with everything. A lot of people like to watch TV, and now with smart TVs, there’s an app for YouTube where you can easily watch different YouTube channels. It’s adding on to your platform on Instagram to have this full YouTube channel.

I love Instagram stories. I think it’s a great way to show different things on your account without adding them to your feed. I think it’s great for behind the scenes and stuff like that that your fans are really interested in. When I travel or have a photoshoot, I’ll try to get in a few things on my story to give a different perspective of what I’m doing.

3. What makes Instagram a better platform than other social media?
I’m first and foremost a photographer, so just being able to see different photos and different artists inspires me. Just scrolling through my feed or looking at the explore page gets me excited. And I have my own community on Instagram. When I post, I like to interact with my fans from all over the world.

4. How much of your time do you devote to it?
When I wake up in the morning, I tend to just scroll on Instagram, probably for like … (laughs) you know, you get carried away. Like a good 15 or 30 minutes, just scrolling, and then you look at the time and you’re like, “Wow, I didn’t even realize how fast time went.” So, I’d say maybe two hours a day, so 14 hours a week, if I had to make an educated guess.

A lot of the work that I do, I don’t post on Instagram. My followers enjoy the travel aspects of my photos. So if I posted portraits and stuff like that, I don’t think as many people would be as interested than if I posted something of like, an aerial shot of Morocco, or wherever else I’ve been. It’s definitely tricky, because sometimes I’ll post portraits, but the majority of the time, I will post different aerial shots or cityscapes.

With different brand work that I do, depending on the brand, or if I really do love a shot, I post it.

I resigned from my job about three years ago, and at first I was on Instagram heavily. But I think in order to survive as a freelancer, I’m more on the back-end side of things, so I’d say that my time on Instagram has been maybe less than what it used to be. But it varies. It really depends on how busy my week is and what I have going on.

5. How do you promote your account? What’s your number-one way to gain followers?
One is doing Instagram meetups, which are called Instameets, where people who have the same interest in photography go shoot around in different locations. Also, a lot of people on Instagram tend to repost your photos. Their followers see your work, and if they like what they see, they follow you, too. I would post photos of New York from perspectives that not a lot of people would otherwise see, especially my aerial perspectives, and a lot of reposting action is how my followers grew. It could either be just an average person with 1,000 followers that were their friends, or a photography account page with more followers featuring different photographers. That and collaborating with other photographers and taking portraits of each other is another way I grew my followers.

6. How do you engage with others on the platform?
I go into their profile and check out their work and comment. I think the more you engage, the more engagement you’ll get. It connects you differently with your audience, and it’s a fun way to kind of communicate.

There are so many different ways that you can engage with different people, whether it’s commenting on your own photo and just writing back to somebody — if they write a nice comment to you, you could do the same in return. Clicking on a hashtag of a common interest and just commenting on photos that you like and liking different pictures as well as, now you can search different locations, and on the explore page, you can just scroll through. The Instagram algorithm already has posts in there that they think that you would like. So I think that’s another great way to engage with other users.

7. How often do you post?
I try to at least post once a day. But it can go from one post a day to like four or five. It really depends on my time and my mood.

I try not to post too late at night. But, when you start to have a following, you have people from all over the world. So, if you post, let’s say, at 3 a.m. your time, although it might not do as well as it could do if it was earlier in the day, there will still be people liking and commenting on that photo. So that just reaches a different audience, and that reaches audiences in different parts of the world. As long as you don’t let the numbers affect you too much, it’s another way to grow your following.

I know people who, I don’t know if they still do it, but every four hours, they would have a post up there, even if it was, you know, 4 in the morning, they would just keep posting.

8. What’s your content strategy?
I just try to stay consistent. People follow you for a certain reason, and if you just stay consistent to that, then you’re going to grow your following faster.

I do play around with that, and the engagement might not be as strong as what you usually post, but you do reach a different audience and you add to your following growth. I think as long as you stay true to what you like and what you enjoy, other people will follow that.

But there are so many times that I want to post something personal, but I’m like, “You know what? Yeah, some people will enjoy this, some people won’t. But this isn’t true to my brand and what my end goal is, so why post it?”

9. How has your content strategy evolved as Instagram has added features?
Instagram has made it so much easier to communicate with people. If you hold down on their username it pops up with an easy way to reply. In the top right corner, you can send a message easily. Essentially, Instagram is a communication tool.

If I’m traveling abroad — or even if I’m in New York, people come to visit. It’s so much easier to say, “Hey, let’s collaborate together, let’s go take some photos and create more.” It definitely helps with doing that, with the updates.

I’ve met people who were following me and they wanted to host me and take me around. So we’d meet at a location and kind of start there. And you know, that sounds a little creepy, but you get a vibe off people, and once you meet somebody, you can see if you guys have a good connection between each other. That’s happened to me in Dubai, in Hong Kong, in Tokyo — even in New York.

Related: This Former Math Teacher Now Gets Paid to Travel the World and Take Pictures of Her Meals

10. What’s your best storytelling trick?
When I post a photo, I can use Instagram stories to say what happened in that photo or whether it’s in the caption, kind of describe how I was feeling in that photo, as well as, when people comment, replying back and asking questions. You get more of a deeper connection and one-on-one storytelling, and other people can scroll through and view that as well.

11. How do you set yourself apart from others on the platform?
My editing style is different from other photographers. Everybody has their own aesthetic when it comes to editing their photos, so I think that helps tremendously as well as perspective and seeing things in a different light.

I kind of use similar tones within my photos — brightening up the highlights and going with a more colder look, which adds more of a bluish tint to my photos.

I think it’s how you play with the light when you take these photos. The light hits something in a certain way, and with that, you can kind of play with the shadows, make it darker and bring out the highlights and just make the photo more vibrant. With different editing tools, you could bring up certain colors, like oranges and blues, and bring down other colors, like yellows. So, it really depends on your mood. If I edit a photo today and tomorrow at the same time and I feel a different way, the photo will look completely different because of how I feel in the moment.

12. How do you leverage your Instagram and to what extent do you monetize it?
I went to school for finance, and, you know, I wanted to live comfortably, and I never knew that you can make a living as an artist. People think that artists starve, but that’s not necessarily the case. And especially now, with social media, there are so many platforms, and there are so many brands out there that need help in that department in terms of making content for it.

Instagram definitely gave me my initial connections with different brands to start creating for them, and then from there, whether it’s word of mouth or people moving companies and just building relationships or going to events, I think it really does help you meet up with a global brand for social media. There are so many that you can work with. So I think as long as you keep interacting with people and going to events, you can meet more people and work with different brands.

Then there are also brand sponsorships, like I have with Heineken. We’ve been working together for the past six months doing different activations and stuff. But there are many different routes that you can go. I’ve definitely done over 20, 30 sponsorships.

A lot of brands need creators to create for their social media, beyond just Instagram. They need content for their pages, so you don’t even necessarily need to have a huge following to do that. As long as you put yourself out there, there are so many events out there that people want you to go to, if you go and you meet the right people and decide to work together, that’s just a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

Sometimes [I repost the content I create for brands onto my own feed]. If I like the photo enough, then yes. If I think it fits within my aesthetic of my brand, then yes. But not always, because I think it’s important to brand yourself and differentiate yourself from other brands. So, posting other brands isn’t necessarily going to help you accomplish that. It really depends on the brand and it depends on how much you like the photo for your feed.

13. What advice do you have for other Instagram influencers or people who want to build brands on the platform?
Stay consistent, and figure out what you want the vibe of your feed to be and what you want your brand to represent. Stay true to that, and keep posting and engaging and interacting with as many people as possible.

Most of the people that you engage with on social media, they probably won’t be able to help you in any way or give you a job or something. But they do spread your name around and tell their friends about you. The more that you just engage with the opportunities that come up, the more likely it is that you’ll meet somebody who can help you.

Related: How to Become an Instagram Millionaire

14. What’s a misconception many people have about Instagram?
I think people think that it’s really easy, and it really is hard. You really do have to kind of stay focused and stay true to your brand and find different creative ways to collaborate with people on the platform.

For instance, I’m a photographer, and I take these photos. So, a lot of these images, I don’t want them to just live on the internet. I do want people to be able to have these photos hanging up in their homes and stuff like that. I think it’s important to realize that you can build your own business behind that. I set up my own print shop, and that has been super great and helpful for my survival through this freelance photography life, as well as brand partnerships. I think it’s just more of what your end goal is. So, for me, it would be to have galleries and the opportunity for people to purchase the photos.

If you stay consistent and people follow you for a specific reason, when you post that you have a product available, then, whether you have 2,000 followers or half a million followers, those are like your customers for your store. I know people who, for instance, do a lot of lifestyle things and fashion. They’ll have links on their website where you can purchase some of the things that they wear and they get kind of a commission off that. So it really depends on what you want to achieve on social media and what you want your brand to represent.

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How to Check If Your Content Marketing Is Working (Step-By-Step Instructions)

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By: Neil Patel

What does success look like in a content marketer’s world?

There isn’t an easy answer to this question.

Since it’s a question I hear a lot, I’ll tell you something.

Tracking your performance is critical to a successful content marketing strategy.

I’ve heard this statement countless times: “Content marketing isn’t measurable.”

This is a big misunderstanding. You absolutely can measure the ROI of your content.

Why do most marketers neglect this?

Content Marketing Institute revealed that more than 50% of marketers either have zero clarity or are unsure of how effective their content marketing is.

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That’s kind of disturbing.

However, I’m not entirely surprised.

It’s easy to get fixated on metrics like social shares and comments on a piece of content.

Of course, it is useful to measure the success of content on an individual post level.

But it’s not enough. You only get a small piece of the puzzle.

Content marketing is a big picture strategy.

If you don’t track performance on many levels and across multiple channels, there’s no way you’ll get a holistic view.

In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to measure your content marketing performance in a quantifiable way.

First, let’s talk about what success might look like for you.

What makes a successful content marketing strategy?

There are several variables that you need to consider.

But there is one overarching theme in every successful content marketing strategy.

Some marketers will tell you it boils down to sales or conversions.

But what if you have no desire to monetize your content?

Sure, lead generation tops the list of content marketing goals, but nearly as many marketers simply want brand awareness!  Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 3.16.50 PM

What’s the key to success?

I’m not trying to sidestep the question, but it depends.

Depends on what?

It depends entirely on your business, your audience, and your objectives.

With that in mind, let’s get into how you can measure your content marketing performance based on these business goals.

Part One: Get clear on the mission statement of your content marketing

In simple terms, if you want to know whether or not your content marketing is working, you need first to define what “working” means for your business.

Before you start thinking about what metrics to track, ask yourself the following questions.

  • What type of person gravitates to your content?
  • How will your readers be moved by your content? What will they feel?
  • What actions will these feelings lead to?
  • What transformation will the reader experience upon taking action?
  • How will these actions influence your business objectives?

These questions will set the overall direction of your content marketing strategy and will guide your entire content creation process.

Whatever direction you go, your audience will be the driving force. Eventually, the actions that they take will move important growth needles for your business.

But it all begins with committing to an audience-centric narrative. In fact, 71% of companies who surpass their revenue goals use audience personas.

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How can you use your mission statement to attract a targeted audience?

1. Place your mission statement front and center. Your mission statement should serve as a gateway for all the channels where you distribute content. This includes your social media channels, your website, and every other customer touchpoint.

2. Your mission statement should be aligned with your core objectives. Your audience’s actions will be connected to your marketing funnels. Audience engagement at the top of the funnel should eventually lead to some conversions.

3. Put your mission statement to action. There’s no point in having a mission statement if you don’t use it. Whatever your ultimate goal is, commit to it. If it no longer reflects your business, change it.

Part Two: Analyze your traffic sources

You may have heard the idea that traffic is a vanity metric that shouldn’t be given much attention.I disagree.

Although you’re not creating content for traffic alone, keeping tabs on your traffic sources is a critical step.

Why?

No matter what your ultimate business objective is, you first need to get eyes on your content.

Your traffic breakdown at each audience touchpoint gives a broad indicator of how your content is performing.

Content performance on this broad level may have an impact on your performance across the board.

First, you need to measure your traffic across several channels and see how that traffic relates to your core product or service.

With Google Analytics, this is easy.

Alternatively, you can use a premium tool like Ahrefs, but we’ll focus on using the free option.

Here are six different channels that you should pay attention to.

  1. Social traffic – Visitors who come to your website via social networks
  2. Organic search traffic – Visitors who come to your website by Google search or other search engines
  3. Direct traffic – Visitors who come to your website by typing in your URL
  4. Email traffic – Visitors who come to your website via your email list
  5. Referral traffic – Visitors who come to your website via referring websites
  6. Paid traffic – Visitors who come to your website from paid search campaigns

Let’s get into how you can find this data.

Step #1: Go to Google Analytics to find out where your traffic originates.

You’ll find this information by clicking on the tab labeled “Acquisition.”

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First, get an overview of your traffic.

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You’ll see a pie chart displaying your top referring channels.

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After you have an accurate overview, click on the individual channels to view the traffic breakdown for each one.

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Create a spreadsheet to track the breakdown of traffic for each channel.

Pay attention to the “Acquisition,” “Behavior,” and “Conversions” metrics for each channel.

You can either export this data from Google Analytics or create a spreadsheet of your own.

Step #2: Tag your email links to get your email traffic data. The links from your email need to be labeled and tagged.

Some email management systems integrate seamlessly with Google Analytics, so you may not have to do this manually.

If you choose to set it up manually, here’s how.

Go to Google’s URL Builder to set specific parameters for the links in your email campaigns.

Your medium should be set to “email” to match your custom segment.

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From the information that you type in, you will receive a correctly formatted URL.

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Step #3: Create custom advanced segments to track your email traffic.

Find the tab that says “Personal Tools and Assets.” Click on “Segments.”

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Create a new segment.

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Name your segment. Set the medium to “Email.”

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Now, you’re all set to track the post-click performance of your emails.

Navigate to “Acquisition” as you did in the first step. You’ll be able to see pageviews, bounce rates, and new users under the email medium.

Add this data to your spreadsheet.

Step #4: Track the impact of your offline content marketing efforts on your online traffic.

Now that you have an overview of the traffic for your online channels, what about the offline ones?

Why track offline campaigns at all?

Here’s the thing. Your offline content marketing efforts can funnel into your online traffic stream.

Offline campaigns like in-person events are proven to be one of the most effective marketing channels.

Just take a look at these survey results from Content Marketing Institute.

75% of content marketers say that in-person events are among their most effective B2B marketing tactics!

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You want your data to tell the whole story, so it would be a mistake to leave out this information.

Here are some tips for measuring the impact of offline channels.

  1. Redirect your URLs to make them trackable. Whether it’s a magazine, business card, or video ad, simply attach a tracking code to your call to action links. You can use a platform like bit.ly to do so. This will allow you to segment out visits for that particular channel.
  2. Use unique coupon and offer codes for your offline channels. You can track users who make purchases after being served content from offline channels.
  3. Map your traffic patterns onto your offline content distribution times or PR campaigns. Of course, this isn’t an exact science and won’t be possible for every offline channel. However, you may see certain spikes in online traffic after some offline campaigns.

Part Three: Track engagement metrics that correspond to your business objectives

By this point, you have a surface view of your content marketing performance.Let’s take it deeper.

I’ll give you several options for figuring out the ROI of your content marketing efforts.

The path that you take will depend on the mission statement that you’ve set for your content and business goals.

Here’s what you may decide to focus on.

  • Building brand awareness
  • Generating and nurturing quality leads
  • Increasing customer acquisition and sales
  • Improving customer retention and loyalty

Let’s get into the metrics that correspond to each of these goals.

Building brand awareness

Content marketing is ideal for creating brand awareness.

This business objective is about connecting with your ideal audience, exposing them to your “why,” and fostering engagement.

You can use content that focuses on your brand story, core values, and company culture.

Content like this produces brand awareness.

And brand awareness is super valuable.

This is likely why 74% of B2C marketers say that brand awareness is their primary goal.

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A successful brand awareness campaign gives you ultimate recognition.

When customers hear your brand name, they should be able to understand what you represent.

To measure your success in this endeavor, you should track “consumption metrics.”

What are some common consumption metrics?

  • Social reach
  • Ungated downloads
  • Mobile readership
  • Document views
  • Time on site
  • Pageviews
  • Video views
  • Inbound links
  • Blog comments

Generating and nurturing quality leads

If you want your content marketing to influence sales, generating and nurturing quality leads is a critical step.

This process is about getting your customer through a permission marketing funnel, so you can build trust and nurture a relationship.

Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost.

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It usually starts with businesses providing quality content for free. Prospects submit their email addresses or other personal information to get the content.

Here are the KPIs that you can measure.

  • Gated content downloads or form completions
  • Email subscriptions
  • Event registrations
  • Demo sign ups
  • Webinar registrations
  • Conversion rates

Increasing customer acquisition and sales

For many businesses, the bottom line is generating sales.

This is one of the few business objectives that allows you to concretely measure the results of your content marketing.

You can leverage content marketing to acquire new customers at a low customer acquisition cost.

You can also use content assets like high-converting product pages to influence sales.

Here are the KPIs that you can track.

  • New customers
  • Top-converting pages
  • Online sales
  • Offline sales
  • Length of sales cycle
  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition cost

Improving customer retention and loyalty

Your work does not stop with a sale.

It’s also important to provide a great experience for existing customers.

When considering this objective, ask yourself a few questions.

  • How can you help customers get better use out of your products and services?
  • How will you help them troubleshoot and solve their problems?
  • What can you do to get them to a transformation as quickly and as easily as possible?

Here are the metrics that you can measure.

Now that you know what to measure, here’s what to do next.

Step #1 – Track these metrics on a program level for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

All your content is not tied to the same goal.

This means that every content asset cannot be held accountable to the same performance metrics.

The best solution is to track these metrics on a program level across each stage of the marketing funnel.

What do I mean by a “program level?”

Each content marketing initiative qualifies as a separate program.

For example, the metrics you track for your podcast are different from the metrics you track for your blog.

After you’ve gathered data for each program, you should then assess what all the data sets mean for your overall content marketing performance.

How do you tie your metrics to the buyer’s journey?

It’s simple.

All the goals that we discussed can easily be mapped onto the customer journey.

Here’s an illustration:

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For each program, you simply have to track the metrics from the top of the funnel to the bottom.

This allows you to trace new customers back to where they first came into contact with your business.

You can create a spreadsheet to serve as your performance scorecard.

Step #2 – Track engagement and conversion metrics on your content.

At this point, you’ve tracked your content marketing performance on several levels.

It’s also important that you monitor the performance of individual content pieces.

But that’s not all.

You need to connect different types of content to each stage of the customer journey.

Why?

Like I mentioned above, you can’t expect all your content to produce the same outcome. Every piece has to do its part.

By segmenting your content performance according to each stage of the customer journey, you ensure that you don’t assign performance goals where they don’t belong.

Here are some of the types of content that you’ll use to drive each business goal.

Building brand awareness

  • Guest articles
  • SlideShare presentations
  • Case studies
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Third party reviews
  • Social media posts

Generating and nurturing quality leads

  • Speaking events
  • Whitepapers and guides
  • Ebooks
  • Landing pages for gated content
  • Free online courses
  • Webinars
  • Email campaigns
  • Quizzes

Increasing customer acquisition and sales

  • Buyer guides
  • Product pages
  • Product case studies and testimonials
  • Blog posts optimized for the conversion stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Email sales sequences

Increasing customer loyalty and retention

  • Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) pages
  • User-generated content
  • Polls and surveys

Step #3 – Calculate your Return on Investment

Have you ever wondered whether or not you can connect your content marketing performance to an actual monetary figure?

You can!

Jay Baer provides a three-step process for calculating ROI for individual content marketing initiatives. I’ve adapted his process here.

1. First, work out your content marketing spend.

Here’s what you need to calculate content marketing spend.

  • How much you’ve invested in content creators for the month
  • Your overhead costs
  • Additional costs like tools and software used to power your content marketing for each initiative

The formula:

Screen Shot 2017 07 13 at 12.55.53 AM

2. Next, calculate your return.

Here’s what you need to calculate your return.

  • Leads per month
  • Lead conversion rate
  • Average customer lifetime value
  • Average profit margin percentage

The formula:

Screen Shot 2017 07 13 at 12.57.21 AM

3. Lastly, calculate your ROI.

Here’s what you need to calculate your ROI.

  • Investment
  • Return

The formula:

Screen Shot 2017 07 13 at 1.00.01 AM

Part Four: Consider the intangibles

No matter how sophisticated your tracking systems, numbers never tell the complete story.

Each customer has a unique journey through your marketing funnels.

Data simply can’t highlight these nuances.

The best way to know if your efforts are working is to engage with your audience.

What conversations are happening around your business? What are your customers saying?

Here’s how you can find out.

1. Ask users where they first came into contact with your business. When website visitors fill out contact forms, you can easily add an option to ask, “Where did you hear about me?”

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 8.33.59 PM

2. Use surveys and social media polls to get feedback from your audience. Ask them what content they’d like to see more of.

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 8.38.23 PM

3. Start user-generated content campaigns on social media. There’s no better way to know what content your audience likes than to have them create it.

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 8.45.25 PM

4. Monitor social media platforms and forums to find out what people are saying about your business.

For social, you can search for your branded hashtags or sift through the comment section of your posts to listen in on the conversations.

Forums like Quora are also great for keeping an eye on your audience.

Type your business name into the search bar.

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 8.51.55 PM

You’ll see all the discussions. They may not all be useful, but you will find some golden nuggets.

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 8.54.44 PM

Conclusion

The premise of content marketing is simple.

Create exceptional content, attract a clearly defined audience, and inspire users to take action.

If you can influence the sort of actions that will positively impact your business goals, you’ve won.

Not only will you be able to amplify your content marketing performance, but you’ll also be able to track your success in a quantifiable way.

Be mindful that content marketing is an organic strategy. Results take time to develop.

Set your business objectives, align your content creation process with these goals, and hold your content accountable to performance goals.

How has content marketing been working for your business? Have you been able to track your results?

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Don’t Interrupt Me! How to Engage Your Customers Without Annoying Them

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By: Shayla Price

 

Are you annoying your customers?

Probably so.

Inundating your audience with multiple messages at inconvenient times isn’t helpful. Therefore, it’s important to know when and how to engage with consumers.

“Marketing is your way of connecting with your customers as well as a way to convey your business’ personality and values – it’s an essential channel…Even companies with the best of intentions can often manage to annoy their target market,” writes Jennifer Warr, former engagement and awareness cell leader at Klood.

Let’s explore what you can do to market your brand without being a nuisance. Here are five strategies to stop your annoying behavior:

1. Prioritize Your Customers’ Needs

Customers are the primary asset of your company. If you don’t prioritize their needs, everything else falls apart.

This principle is especially true when engaging customers. People can easily recognize when your intentions aren’t authentic.

If you’re not focused on what matters to them, your brand comes off like a car salesman pushing the purchase of an unwanted product. Then, the customer reacts by ignoring your messages and possibly going to your competitors.

Start approaching the customer relationship with respect. As a trusted advisor, you want to communicate the most relevant information.

To avoid the common myths around customer needs, analyze your behavioral data, including website and email activity, to learn your customers’ habits, priorities, and desires. Their actions will help you identify how to craft the conversation.

what customers don't need

Image SourceIf your data shows that your customers love matching your blue T-shirts with green shorts, you could send a post-purchase email with a discount for the shorts. In this case, you’re not annoying your customers. You’re providing valuable content.

There’s no good reason to annoy your customers. Learn their needs to become a trusted resource, not a recurring burden.

2. Stay Away from Information Overload

It’s important to educate your customer. However, don’t overload your audience with too much information at once.

When people see lots of text, a couple of questions pop into their minds: How long will it take to read this? Is this even worth my time? These are the initial hurdles facing companies producing content.

To address the first question, you need to be mindful of the customer’s time. She’s juggling multiple tasks and wants you to get straight to the point.

For instance, when visitors land on your website, they should know immediately how your product benefits them. That means decluttering your website by removing the multiple pop-up screens and sidebars.

When arriving to Instapage’s site, it’s easy for consumers to figure out that this brand offers landing page software that increases conversion rates.

instapage guarantees to increase conversion rates

The second question is where some companies struggle. For any content to be worth your customer’s time, it must offer some type of instant value to the person. It should directly highlight their pain points or lead them to a specific solution.

Let’s say you’re writing a case study about how a customer achieved success with your product. It isn’t good enough to just talk about the outcome. The value in a case study comes from emphasizing the problem, the process, and the result.

Customer engagement is effective when you leave out the unnecessary information. Try producing straightforward content that offers a solution.

3. Convey Every Message Differently

As an experienced marketer, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the rule of seven. It’s the assumption that consumers need to see your offer at least seven times before taking action.

It’s not an exact science, but the rule gives you a foundation on how many times to engage with your customers.

What’s frightening is how companies implement this principle. For some companies, it’s sending the same email multiple times to a subscriber until the person clicks the link in the message. Or it’s copying and pasting the words in a blog post into a SlideShare.

Repeating the same message over and over isn’t useful. It becomes noise to the customer, and that noise becomes annoying.

Instead, every piece of content should not center around the sale. Here’s Susanna Tarrant, a digital marketing coordinator for Marketing Copilot, thoughts on the topic:

“Rather than trying to close the deal too early, you should create content filled with information for your audience. A useful content marketing strategy changes the conversation. It makes it about your customer and not about you or the sale.”

For example, if you’re planning a five-day email campaign, introduce your brand in Email #1, talk about the problem in Email #2, highlight a case study in Email #3, discuss the negative consequences of inaction in Email #4, and present your product solution in Email #5.

Every message doesn’t need to talk about your product. Craft your content around the customers’ needs and the sales journey.

4. Avoid Inconvenient Surprises

Somewhere between rewards and hidden fees, marketers got confused on what types of surprises customers desire. It’s becoming the norm to not tell consumers the whole truth until checkout.

This practice is not healthy for the brand-customer relationship. Hiding the fine print about upcharges or credit card fees only builds a barrier.

Your customer will have one more reason to not trust you. Plus, these unexpected markups can lead to more abandoned shopping carts, negatively affecting your sales.

customer surprises to avoid

Image SourceBut it doesn’t stop there. Other less known surprises include a 404 page to a critical resource, slow response times with customer support, and payment processing errors.

While your team may see these as minor glitches, your customers perceive them as another reason not to do business with you. Your customers want you to live up to your brand promise.

“Somewhere between best intentions and actual staffing, budgets, and IT limitations lies the real world of customer interactions. Don’t tell your customers you value them and then banish them to an automated system or place them on hold for 30 minutes while they wait for a rep,” states Samuel Greengard, contributing writer at CMO.com.

Unwanted surprises shouldn’t interrupt the customer experience. Work with your team to identify which ones annoy your target audience.

5. Engage in a Timely Manner

When you engage with customers is just as important as how you engage. The right message at the wrong time still equals an interruption to the recipient.

Most content splits into two categories: evergreen and seasonal. Evergreen content is information that continually remains relevant. Seasonal content is information with a finite endpoint.

You’ll notice lots of businesses posting evergreen content at random times with a mix of seasonal content, like news jacking pieces. Their strategy is well-founded, but not necessarily results-driven.

The alternative is to send timely content that fits the customer’s current needs. An evergreen blog post isn’t timely if it doesn’t solve the present problem. A seasonal message doesn’t help the customer if he wants his year-round issues solved today.

To send timely content, you must understand your customers’ behaviors. You’re aware of what type of lead magnets they download, how many times they visit certain pages, and the purchasing history with your company.

Triggered email marketing campaigns are one solution to sending timely and relevant content to your audience. With automation and if-then logic, customers can receive messages based on their behaviors.

For example, if a customer doesn’t repurchase a product in 60 days, you can send a retention email. Kissmetrics Campaigns makes it easy to create these behavior-based messages.

Are you engaging with timely content, or just interrupting? Reevaluate when you communicate with your audience.

Stop Annoying, Start Engaging

It’s definitely possible to irk your customers with unfavorable marketing habits. Engagement is a better method for connecting with your audience.

Start by learning and prioritizing your customers’ needs. Deliver different messages based on the customer journey. Also, don’t surprise your customers with hidden charges.

 

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3 Tools to Help Facilitate Content Co-Creation with Niche Experts

Content marketing has evolved faster than anyone could have anticipated.

These days, there are so many options vying for people’s attention, with more than 2.5 million new posts being uploaded every day, covering virtually any topic. If you want to stand out in that flood, you need to create great, resonant content which connects with your audience’s key interests, and while hiring professional writers is definitely a great way to ensure the grammatical quality and readability of your blog, for true insights, you also need to showcase your professional expertise in your niche.

A recent study from Buzzsumo highlights the problem – they found that almost three-quarters of all articles receive 39 shares or fewer.

3 Tools to Help Facilitate Content Co-Creation with Niche Experts | Social Media TodayPeople only share stuff that helps make them look good, or which provides the exact insight they need. Hiring professional “generalist” content writers to generate all your content won’t always cut it – if you want to publish something that’ll resonate with engineers, for example, then you’re going to need some significant input from an engineer.

Some content can still be written by versatile, talented freelance article writers – I almost always hire professional writers to generate the sales copy and landing page content that my clients need, and it performs well. However, when it comes to creating immersive, long-form reads that draw massive shares via social media, you’re better off utilizing subject experts to boost your messaging.

Collaborating with Subject Matter Experts

Subject matter experts are highly knowledgeable about their fields – but that, of course, doesn’t mean that they can write effectively. Some professionals write extensively as part of their professional career, so they can generally be trusted to write engaging articles, however, some niche experts haven’t written 500 words of prose since they left high school.

Even if a subject matter expert isn’t proficient as a writer, they can still be involved in the content generation process. A professional writer can help guide them – the writer can solicit their input on the issues that matter to niche practitioners, important terminology, industry slang and humor that people in their field share with each other. They can collaborate remotely to merge their words to make it feel like an insider wrote the whole thing.

Here are three tools that can assist with content collaboration – both within your organization and elsewhere.

1. Smarp

Smarp is an employee collaboration and engagement tool, it helps writers and subject matter experts to access news to find timely, useful information for their content. Users across your company can also easily discuss and share information over social networks.

While Smarp is primarily an employee advocacy platform, it’s also great for promoting all types of employee engagement. Team members can post content that they think their peers should consider sharing on social media or that may otherwise be of interest across the organization.

Professional content creators and line-of-business team members can discuss concepts and share documents back and forth to assist with content strategy, angles and turns of phrase.

3 Tools to Help Facilitate Content Co-Creation with Niche Experts | Social Media Today

Internal stakeholders across business units can also share and pull information from the company’s news feed. The real-time feed gives employees an endless supply of potential content ideas to share on social media.

2. Slack

Slack is a great file sharing and instant messaging tool, which is used by thousands of renowned companies, including Time Inc., AirBNB and Pandora. It can be a great tool for content marketing teams as well.

You can easily setup an account with Slack. After that, you can begin a content marketing project by creating a channel for it. Make sure both content marketers and subject matter experts are added to each channel.

3 Tools to Help Facilitate Content Co-Creation with Niche Experts | Social Media Today

Subject matter experts and writers can use Slack channels to shares notes and files with each other. You can create a to-do list asking the subject matter experts to provide important information to the writers or share a draft. Slack automatically saves archives of all files shared for easy retrieval whenever needed, and there’s a vibrant ecosystem of installable bots that can help automate workflows, streamline social sharing functionality and track performance data.

3. GotoMeeting

GotoMeeting is a screen sharing and video conferencing tool, which is available as a web app, native mobile app or desktop client. If writers need to consult with subject matter experts remotely, this tool enables them to engage in real time and get important visuals.

Open communication is important – keep in mind that subject matter experts and writers often spend their days operating with different terminologies, so you’ll need to make an effort to get fully aligned. This is where screen sharing comes in especially handy, because content writers can ask subject matter experts for questions and get answers on the spot, along with visual demonstrations.

3 Tools to Help Facilitate Content Co-Creation with Niche Experts | Social Media Today

Subject matter experts and writers can use the following features to collaborate:

  • Share screens with each other in real-time.
  • Record video meetings, which helps for future transcription.
  • Share files to provide clarifications.
  • Schedule meetings and sync calendars.

GotoMeeting is a great platform for collaborating on complex projects, worth consideration for all content marketing teams.

Sophisticated Audiences Can Tell the Difference

Some brands have more informed audiences than others – if you need your content to reach a large B2B audience via social media, for example, then you need to meet high standards of niche-specific authenticity.

Freelance writers can’t usually write content that will impress niche readers, subject matter experts are better suited to do this, provided they have decent writing capabilities.

Social content also needs to have a level of emotion to be resonant, and subject matter experts have dedicated their lives to their craft, so they’re better placed to be able to write something that really grips readers.

There’s simply too much noise out there on social media nowadays – to get through to the people you want to reach, and to keep their attention, you need to collaborate with niche experts

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What Social Media Marketers Get Wrong About SEO: The 4 Biggest Mistakes

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 1. Misunderstanding the relationship between SEO and social

Although Google suggests social signals do not impact rankings, one can draw correlations between top-performing social content and top performing content on the web with the common denominator being quality content. Content shared on social that receives lots of shares, likes, and comments will likely get similar engagement metrics that lend themselves to Google’s authority signals, and in turn positively impact your rankings.

That said, our SEO expert Ramdani recommends social media managers ensure they aren’t creating social media plans with the exclusive intent of improving rankings. Instead, it should be understood that SEO and social media work together as part of an overall marketing plan to boost engagement and improve reach.

A solid social media presence, combined with valuable content and community building, work together to contribute to increasing brand awareness, website traffic, and improved social customer service.

2. Not sharing content strategically

As the connection between social media and SEO content is key for marketing success, social media managers need to be strategic about the type of content they share.

Instead of sharing only new content, analyze the performance of your past work and recognize what is bringing the most traffic to your site. What kind of content is driving the most traffic? What is getting shared the most? What are the most popular topics and themes your audience engages with? These are all questions social media managers need to consider when deciding what content they will focus on sharing through their online channels.

As Ramdani says, “Pick the consistently winning horse instead of a beat up car that’s never won.” Create a bank of your best-performing evergreen content that you can rotate in your social media content calendar, and share these assets alongside your newer content.

3. Expecting overnight success

SEO is an incredibly effective way of improving traffic to your site, but it’s not a quick fix. Marketers will often expect to deploy strategies and get immediate results. And when they don’t get these results, they abandon the plan.

SEO takes time to pay off, so impatience is one of the biggest roadblocks for marketing managers.

One of the main reasons SEO is a long-term strategy rather than a short-term quick fix, is because of the huge volume of content online. As this Domo infographic shows, the amount of data being shared online every minute is staggering.

16_domo_data-never-sleeps-4
Image via: https://www.domo.com/blog/data-never-sleeps-4-0/

You aren’t alone in your industry, and you aren’t the only one pushing out content. Because of this competition, you need to always follow SEO best practices, produce and share quality content, and analyze your results.

Influencers and high-traffic sites put in the work to build authority, and search engines recognize this. Positioning your brand as one to trust (both by search engines and customers) doesn’t happen overnight. Marketers need to post quality content on a consistent basis and ensure it’s gaining valuable backlinks to help establish credibility.

Once social media managers and marketers recognize the time and effort involved in seeing their SEO efforts pay off, they can concentrate on driving their strategy forward.

4. Not keeping up with SEO advancements

SEO has greatly evolved over the last 10 years, but not all marketers have been able to keep up.

“Many marketers in 2016 don’t get it. They haven’t kept up, or worse, they’re reluctant to running SEO campaigns because they’re attached to tactics of the past,” Ramdani explains.

An example of this is the practice of keyword stuffing. A very popular practice at the beginning of SEO’s evolution, keyword stuffing is when content on a web page is “stuffed” or loaded with keywords. Not only does it look ridiculous and lower the credibility of your content, it can get you hit with a manual or algorithmic suspension, which is hard to work back from.

Marketers need to be aware of updates to search engine algorithms such as Panda (which cracks down on keyword stuffing), Penguin (which penalizes low-quality links), and Hummingbird (which enables a deeper understanding of search intent).

With search results more personalized than ever, marketers need to make the connections between their content and the target audience. Google modifies their rankings to choose the most relevant content based on an individual’s search history, which means that authority, keyword matching, freshness, and engagement become even more important.

This fast-changing technology means marketers and social media managers need to stay on top of developments and adjust their content creation and promotion strategy accordingly.

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5 Quick Hacks To Radically Improve Your Social Media Design

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5 Quick Hacks To Radically Improve Your Social Media DesignScientists have shown that the average person blinks 15-20 times per minute.

That’s a lot! And it just goes to show that a lot can happen in a minute, or every four seconds if you do the maths.

So have you ever wondered about how much activity happens on Facebook per minute?

I’ll tell you.

510,000 comments are posted. 293,000 statuses are updated. 136,000 photos are uploaded.

As for Twitter, approximately 350,000 tweets are sent per minute.

That’s a lot of content being published in the blink (or 15-20 blinks) of an eye.

It’s little wonder that capturing your target audience’s attention can be so difficult.

Digital marketers constantly struggle for the attention of their prospects. To survive in this crowded informational marketplace, you need to stand out.

One surefire way to reach out and grab people’s attention is with visual content.

Why visual content?

Successful brands are often successful because they understand the importance of visual content to their social media design.

Human beings are visual creatures. In fact, visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the human brain than text.

Here are a few other interesting stats:

Visme recently asked some top content marketers for their visual content tips, and Jeff Bullas shared the following advice:

Creating great, effective visual content is a combination of using the right tools and testing the content on different networks. This means posting visuals on Twitter or Instagram or streaming video on Facebook or Periscope. Using the resulting data will then allow you to create more of what works. It’s a combination of art (creativity) and the science (data and technology) of effective content marketing.

How to improve your social media designs

Not everybody likes to read and a lot of people rely on their visual perceptions to interpret information.

Eye-catching imagery therefore plays an integral role in improving your reach to your target audience.

We all recognize that producing regular content is a key factor in maintaining a successful brand, but by enhancing your social media design, you can boost your business sales with greater reach and more engagement.

Something as seemingly simple as using a vibrant palette or a punchy font can make all the difference between someone scrolling past your content on their news feed, and someone having a closer look.

I’ve come up with five awesome social media design hacks which I know will help improve your post’s engagement, because they’ve definitely helped mine!

1. Choose a distinctive color combination

Does your brand have a specific color or colors associated with it?

Color is a key part of brand recognition. Color combinations are all-important in the creation of a post’s mood and in setting the visual tone of the content. A recent study found that 90% of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone.

The better the color combination and the more emotions it conveys, the better the odds of your social media images creating an everlasting impression on their audience.

Every color can be used for a different emotion and thus you should use it accordingly. Here’s a little bit of color psychology as it relates to marketing.

Image Source: Visual.ly

You can see that the color combinations you choose really do make a difference to how people perceive and respond to your brand.

2. Keep your design simple

Keep your design simple and easy to relate to, and you’ll increase the odds that people relate to your social media content.

When it comes to visual content, keeping it simple is key as most people like to receive information in a short and sweet manner with no complexity involved.

You can see how Hubspot does this on their Twitter page.

Their clean, sharp graph with a minimalist layout is both eye-catching and sophisticated.

The best thing about deciding to keep things simple when it comes to design is that it also makes content way quicker for you to create, and forces you to break information down into separate posts. This in turn leaves you with plenty of content to post.

3. Show off key information

Lure your audience in by adopting a show, don’t tell, approach. This means using well-designed visuals to direct your audience’s attention to key information, data or figures.

For example, if you were having a 70% off sale, you could make that ‘70%’ pop out of the image by increasing the text size or back-shadowing it in a different colour.

Simply listing information and not visually promoting it won’t get you anywhere.

In today’s digital age, there’s no call for it. Use tools like Bannersnack to get the upper hand on your typographical hierarchy and create imagery that complements what it is you’re discussing.

Remember, unless the graphic you’re posting highlights the right pieces of information and reflects your brand messages in a thoughtful way, it’s basically useless.

4. Master your typographical style

Does your brand have a consistent font that you use across social media platforms?

If not, you need to determine your brand fonts. They reflect your brand personality and reinforce your tone of voice.

The selection of the perfect font or set of fonts must be done through research and analysis. Fonts play a vital role in the overall appearance of social media designs, so here are some basic typographic principles to follow.

Always keep the readability and legibility in mind when selecting fonts. Also remember the importance of context: fonts that look great in headlines may not work as well for body copy.

Well-crafted typography has the power to allow audiences to quickly scan your content, identify the most important elements and make connections between it and other content from your brand.

Make sure you are evoking a particular feeling or fit with the fonts you use, and that you choose them for utility as well as style.

5. Include a strong call to action

Including a strong call to action – in other words, enticing the audience to carry out further actions in the form of purchasing products, goods and services or downloading a resource – is critical to successful social media design.

But it may surprise you to learn that a good call to action doesn’t have to be created through words.

I mentioned earlier that we’re becoming an increasingly visual culture, and the big benefit of this is that you can complement your call to action with an appropriate and effective visual.

A call to action should first and foremost be engaging, so identify an emotion and build your communication around it. For example, a ‘handwritten’ font might prompt audiences to choose your flower delivery service over a competitors because it implies you offer care and consideration.

A call to action should also be a little bit funny, thought-provoking or unique. Focus on the outcomes for customers of engaging with your call, not the call itself – ‘buy it now’ doesn’t entice people to act but ‘join our community’ might.

Summary

Tweaking some elements in your social media images can do wonders for your business and adopting those tips can have a huge impact on the outcome of your social media marketing!

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Pop-up Shop Marketing: a Quick How-to Guide

 

Why pop-up shops?

As the name suggests, pop-up shops are temporary retail establishments that emerge for a few hours, days or weeks on street corners, in malls and at major public events. The goal of a pop-up shop is to create a new touch point with customers and engage with them in a unique way without having to fully invest in a new store or location.

ADVERTISING

That certainly sounds good, but why are brands really investing in pop-up shops? Well, the first reason has less to do with immediate sales and more to do with branding. Research shows that unique services/products, localized assortments, optimal pricing, convenience and a fun experience are among the top things pop-up shoppers are looking for. By aligning your brand with this temporary sales strategy, you can encourage customers to view you in a new light. In other words, the value extends far beyond the shop itself.

This isn’t to say that pop-up shops aren’t profitable — they certainly are. As expert Humayun Khan explained in a Shopify blog, “A pop-up store can be a bonafide way to explore adding an additional revenue stream to your existing ecommerce business — the reason being that it doesn’t cost nearly as much as going all in when you get started with temporary retail.

“Secondly, if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you could rake in significant profits for your business minus the traditional risk retailers incur.”

Related: Companies Turn to Pop-Up Events and Stores to Increase Brand Awareness

3. Marketing suggestions

There’s a lot that goes into a pop-up shop, but much of the success (or lack thereof) can be directly tied back to marketing. If the marketing strategy is sound, then foot traffic and sales will follow. But if the strategy is lacking, you may find your pop-up shop to be a waste of resources. Having said that, here are some marketing tips and techniques that other brands successfully implement for high returns:

Build buzz in advance. Think of yourself as a boxing promoter, in the weeks leading up to the pop-up shop. It’s your mission to build as much hype and anticipation around the event as possible. Much of this will happen on social media via event pages, content marketing and possibly some localized PPC advertising.

If you’re a relatively small brand with limited reach, a pop-up shop is an awesome way to link up with some strategic partners. Consider:

  • What brands are out there that further the message of the lifestyle of your own brand?
  • What do your target customers drink? What do they eat? What do they like to snack on?

These are the people that you should reach out to first,” Shopify suggests. “It’s also going to allow you to cross market into other audiences that care about the same thing as your customer, but don’t compete with you at all.”

Nail day-of marketing. While building advance buzz is important, the most critical factor in your success is day-of marketing. For many shoppers, the decision to visit your store is impromptu. If you’re relying only on your pre-marketing, then you’re missing out on a significant source of traffic. So, feel free to get clever and try some new things.

Traditional marketing techniques, however, often work best. Because pop-up shops are local events, printed flyers in highly trafficked areas are extremely effective. (They can be very cost-effective.)

You may also want to get a couple of spots on local radio and TV to help drum up attention. A 30-second promo highlighting the basics is all you need.

Keep promoting after the event. The third stage of pop-up shop marketing actually occurs after the event is over and everything is packed up. This is the time to share pictures and stories on social media. You want those who attended to remember what made the event so great, as as you simultaneously encourage those who didn’t visit to come to your next pop-up event. This is also a great opportunity to remain in contact with customers you met at the pop-up shop via an online newsletter or strategic discount offers.

Related: How Pop-Ups Are Changing Retail

Use your momentum. Very rarely is the pop-up shop itself the end goal. Sure, it can give you a temporary sales boost — but it’s ultimately about momentum. The objective of a pop-up shop is to give your brand the boost it needs to thrive after the temporary event ends. As you transition out of pop-up shop mode and back to normal retailer/etailer mode, be sure to use the momentum you’ve gained to foster future success.

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