The Power of Online Contests

If you’re on social media (and by now, we sincerely hope that you are!) you’ve probably come across online contests of all types. Whether they’re offering a trip for two to Barbados, a free iPad Mini or a $100 gift card for a particular store, these contests are one of the well-known and most effective marketing techniques of the digital age.

PDRA_SocialMediaContest1_500 030315As social media and online networking continues to grow for business owners, online contests and sweepstakes have become a wildly successful way to attract a slew of new Facebook friends, Twitter followers and potential customers. Not only are contests an exciting way to build a new fan base, but they can be great for engaging with potential customers, building awareness about new products and compiling an audience for future content. When set up correctly, your contest can also be a great way to gather market research from the contestants.

If you want to learn more about this successful marketing technique, as well as the best and most effective ways to executing a successful online contest, we encourage you to check out our Online Contest Webinar. PDRA_SocialMediaContests2_400 030315Complete with successful examples and the important rules and regulations of online contests, this fascinating webinar is free for members and $50 for non-members.

For more information about The Power of YouTube, and our other educational webinars, click here.

5 Ways To Make The Most of Social Media

It’s hard to believe, but once upon a time social media was nothing PDRA_SM_500more than a way to kill time and keep in touch with distant friends and relatives.

But as the world becomes more digital, social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest have become powerful tools for effective marketing. According to a recent study, 91 per cent of small businesses utilize social media as a way to communicate with customers and increase sales. Read more

Five Essential Tools to Master the Art of Upselling

Whether it’s that delicious donut with your morning coffee or the contemporary accent chair to complement your new sofa set, chances are you’ve experienced the art of upselling as a consumer. PDRA_Upsell2_500As an independent retailer in the paint and decorating industry, upselling is important to not only boost your bottom line, but also to establish your small business as more than just a paint store. Read more

12 Tips To Master Email Marketing

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Powerful, fast and highly effective, email marketing is one of the most important weapon in a small business owner’s arsenal. It is a trusted, professional and affordable way to communicate your message to the masses in a short period of time. Used properly, it is an effective and efficient way to both stay in touch with existing customers and attract new ones.

On the downside, email marketing can be time-consuming and difficult to master. Like all marketing efforts, email correspondence is more an art than a science. From writing catchy, click-worthy headlines to ensuring your message steers clear of the dreaded spam folder, there are right ways – and wrong ways – to use email as a marketing tool. Here are 12 tips to get you started. Blast away!

Compile a permission-based email list. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is by sending people spam, which is essentially any type of information-based email that they didn’t opt in for. Always be sure to ask your customers if they would like to receive emails in the future, ensuring them of the added value of coupons, news and exclusive promotions.

Set goals. Before sending out your newsletter or email blast, determine exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Do you want to get the word out about your business? Do you want to create more website traffic? Are you hoping for a serious boost in sales? Having a clear set of goals will help you write a more clear and concise message.

Keep it casual. When writing your email (or outsourcing it)) be sure to keep your tone and voice genuine and conversational. From the subject line to the entire body copy, you’ll be more likely to keep and engage readers if they aren’t immediately reminded of spam-like emails and asked for something. Humour can be effective as well, so long as it is professional and geared toward your target audience.

Personalize, personalize, personalize. While it can be time consuming, including a personalized greeting is a special touch that will be sure to impress your readers. Dear John, or Dear Mr. Smith, is a better approach than Dear Customer 10 times out of 10. Personalization will also create and nurture the ever-important level of trust that’s crucial to email marketing success.

Timing is everything. Maximize your email marketing efforts by scheduling them at regular intervals in your calendar. There is a fine line between too many and too few. If you don’t send emails on a regular basis, you run the risk of your customers forgetting about you. However, too many messages can be overkill. A monthly newsletter is a great way to stay in constant contact, and theme-specific emails (Christmas, birthdays if possible) are a great way to let your customers know you’re thinking about them.

Edit, edit, edit. Even the best writers need a second, third and fourth pair of eyes to revise body copy. Whether it’s a typo or a grammar error, a single mistake can seem unprofessional and destroy your credibility. There’s no going back, so make sure it’s absolutely perfect before you hit that Send button!

Test it out. Send a few test emails to employees or secondary email addresses to ensure the layout is what you’re looking for and all of your links are working. Since one of the main purposes of a newsletter is to drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to make sure that your links lead to the right places.

Make it easy to unsubscribe. Although it’s the opposite of what you want, offer a simple and straightforward “unsubscribe” path. Making it difficult can frustrate or annoy customers; you would much rather lose an email subscriber than a potential customer.

Keep it simple. With more people using mobile to read their messages, and more operating systems than ever, minimize the use of things like images and flash to ensure compatibility. Use bullets and numbering and let the short, concise copy speak for itself.

Keep it professional. Limit the use of ALL CAPITALS and exclamation points, and avoid the use of emoticons. As friendly and personable as you’re trying to be, you are sending a marketing email to a customer, not a quick note to a friend.

Figure out what your subscribers really want. If you take the time to do as much research about your target market as possible, you’ll be able to figure out what they’re looking for in a paint and decorating newsletter/email. And if you know what they want, you’ll be more likely to deliver.

Offer a clear and concise call to action. Powerful trigger phrases like “Buy Now,” “Look Here,” and “Order In Time For Christmas,” are all effective ways to encourage your readers to make the moves quickly instead of pushing the email aside.

Online Contests

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You’ve heard it all before, just like us. Like us, follow us, pin it to win it, etc.

But whether or not you’re a fan of popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, they have proven so effective for so many retailers that they are now almost a mandatory part of doing business.

In particular, social media contests are a great way to further customer engagement, increase followers and build awareness about your product.

In this PDRA webinar we’ll go through some successful online contest examples. We’ll also look at the rules and regulations surrounding online contests and what you need to know to keep your business in check.

Free Social Media Tools

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Do you ever see posts and images on Facebook and wonder how they did that? In this PDRA webinar, you’ll learn about some online tools that paint and decorating stores can use to enhance all forms of social media.

Best of all, these tools are free and simple to use. With such topics as adding text to images, creating photo collages and using custom color schemes, the webinar will look at a variety of options to keep your online communities entertained and engaged.

This is the fourth in a series of PDRA webinars on the subject of social media topics. If you missed any of the past webinars, view them at your convenience at the PDRA webinars page.

Five Ways to Make Your Facebook Business Page Rock!

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Do you have a Facebook page for your businesses but are always stuck on deciding what to post? Or maybe you are one that is always trying to decide how to measure your efforts. In this webinar, we will look at some great examples of paint and decorating stores using images, clever status updates and videos to take your Facebook page from just okay to ‘rocking-and-rolling’ for your business.

This is the third in a series of PDRA webinars. Previous sessions were conducted on the subjects of Pinterest and YouTube. If you missed these webinars, they are available for re-watch on the PDRA website. As is the case with the live webinars, the videos of the webinars will be free to PDRA members and $50 for non-members.

Pinning Down Pinterest

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If ever there was a social media network that is closely suited to the paint and decorating industry, that site is certainly Pinterest.

Pinterest is the latest social media phenomenon, attracting consumers who want to share their mutual interests on a multitude of topics such as home decorating, crafts, recipes and more. The site is especially popular with women, ages 25 to 54, which just so happens to be the key demographic of the paint and decorating industry.

To help retailers “pin down” the potential of Pinterest, PDRA hosted its first social media webinar on June 19. “Pinning Down Pinterest” was free to PDRA members and $50 for non-members. The interactive nature of the one-hour webinar allowed participants to view the presentation at their computers and ask questions at its conclusion.

Beth Trejo, president and co-founder of Chatterkick, did an excellent job in presenting the webinar, which included some useful tips on how individuals and companies can get started on Pinterest, as well as great demographic information on the reach and influence of this new social media site.

“Pinning Down Pinterest” is the first in a series of planned PDRA webinars. Look for details in future blog posts, at the PDRA website and by following us on Twitter.

The Power of YouTube

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Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web? Learn all about YouTube in this PDRA-sponsored webinar.

It’s important for your business to be found online, but you also need the best and most practical ways to feature products and demonstrations. In this webinar, we will talk about why you should look into YouTube, how to get started and best practices from the paint and decorating community. From setting up a YouTube channel to optimizing your videos and learning how to measure success, this will be one webinar you won’t want to miss!

“The Power of YouTube” is the second in a series of planned PDRA webinars. Look for details in future blog posts, at the PDRA website and by following us on Twitter.

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