Fastrak Solutions - Web Design

Cookeville PromoFastrak Solutions has been hosting and maintaining Cookeville Promo's website since we started our business in 2008. Randy Robbins and his team are always there to help. They have awesome suggestions on how to keep your site at the top of each search engine, and they do a great job managing our email blasts for advertising. I highly recommend Fastrak Solutions!

Coffee Break Newsletter

Welcome to our blog! Periodically we will post articles that will help you stay on the cutting edge of technology. We are always looking for recommendations for new articles or if you have a question about Internet marketing, send it to us and we might be able to use it for an article.

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Increasing Your Facebook Reach

Ever wonder why your Facebook reach is so low?
 
Facebook continues to be one of the best ways to use social media to interact with potential customers and grow your business. Did you know that 67% of all American Internet users use Facebook? If we take all Facebook users and average their usage, it would come out to be over eight hours per month. Some statistics suggest that the numbers are even higher. With all these people on Facebook for extended amounts of time, why is it that the reach of our posts is often so low.
 
The answer is EdgeRank or at least what used to be called EdgeRank. Facebook says "EdgeRank" is dead but the algorithm that it stood for is still alive. Let me explain why you want to read farther. If your EdgeRank is low then you can expect that your reach with an article may be less than 10%. If it's medium, then the reach might be 10% to 20%, and if the EdgeRank is high, then you can expect the reach to be more than 30%.
 
Before we talk about how to increase this EdgeRank, let's talk about the factors that make up this score. They are affinity, weight, and decay. Affinity is how interconnected you are to your users. With weight, the more weight the better. Shares and comments weigh more than a like. The last is decay. The more time since the last activity on a post the closer it gets to falling off the edge.
 
Here are some things that will help you increase your reach and return your engagement with the customer:

Quality content that engages the view.
Don't create long posts.
Have calls to action or ask questions.
Use photos and videos when appropriate.
Experiment with your frequency of posts.... not too little or too much but just right.
Experiment with the days and times of your posts. The optimal time varies based on the audience.
Interact with your viewer promptly and reliably.
 
I can't emphasize enough the importance using the tools that Facebook provides to watch the reach and engagement of your posts as you try these things and adjust accordingly.
 
Happy Posting!

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Email - Creating Newsletter Content

Today we are talking about what makes a good newsletter. The audience, the list and keeping it legal are key factors for a successful newsletter, but if we don't create a good and interesting content nothing else really matters does it. On the Internet you can find tip after tip on how to make your newsletter successful. I want to keep it simple and cover the three most important tips to remember.

 

I. You must make the newsletter informative. It needs to be something the customer or potential customer can use. Give them tips, checklists, relevant news stories, or anything else that is relevant to what you want to accomplish and make sure useful to the subscriber.

 

II. This one may be hard for some, but don't fill your newsletter with sales hype. Your subscribers are not reading your articles week after week because they want to be sold something. Trust me, if you give them useful information and they see you as an authorative source, thesales opportunities will come.

 

III. This final tip is sometimes hard for me. Keep it brief! You want them to be able to read or scan the newsletter quickly and not take too much of their time. Try usingbold, italics, or bulleted lists in your formattting to highlight key points or to organize your data. You can also link to additional material on the Internet so they can read more if they want.

 

These tips are the foundation to getting the most success from your newsletters. I hope that my last few newsletters have shown you how valuable they can be to your marketing efforts. If you have any questions about starting your own newsletter, don't hesitate to ask. Next week, I will wrap up our email marketing seriesas we talk about drip marketing. 

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Email - Keeping Your Newsletters Legit

I just read an article that said most companies that use email marketing believe it has a better return on investment than almost all other types of Internet marketing. Sadly, it is also one of the types that is most often neglected. That is one reason that I've felt it was important to spend the last several weeks talking about it.
 
We have talked about our list of recipients and how to grow that list over the last few weeks. I want to spend some time today talking about how to keep it legal. By legal, I mean conforming to the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act and your email service provider's terms of service. You must meet all legal oblications, and being identified as a spammer can drastically affect your delivery rates for email.
 
For the purpose of this conversation, I am going to concentrate on email newsletters or campaigns. When sending email newsletters or campaigns, you can use a service that specializes in these types of email or simply manage it through Outlook or your email client of choice. Email services will often automate things like taking care of subscriptions and list maintenance. This can help you conform to the CAN-SPAM Act. Below are the key criteria to follow when initiating your email campaigns:
 
  1. Use accurate information in the header. It must identify the person or business that initiated the message in the From and Reply-To fields.
  2. Don't use deceptive subject lines on the email.
  3. If the message is an advertisement, you have to indicate that.
  4. There has to be a valid postal address on the email that reflects where you receive email.
  5. Give the recipents a way to opt out of receiving future emails from you.
  6. Promptly honor opt-out requests. You also must process the request within 10 days of receiving the request. You have to honor the request for at least 30 days from the time you sent out the initial email.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. Even though you may hire a company to handle your email campaigns, the legal responsibility falls on both of you.
 
This covers many of the items that the CAN-SPAM Act requires. You will, also, need to look at the Terms of Service for the company that you will using to send the email. If you are going to send newsletters using an email client like Outlook, you will want to see if your email provider has a limit on the number of people you can send an email to at one time. Many do!
 
I hope I have answered all the questions that I have gotten by email. If you have a question about newsletters or anything that is Internet Marketing, please send it to me. I will be happy to help you out.

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Email - Building Your List

Last week we talked about how important email marketing is to growing businesses. This week on Coffee Break we are going to talk more specifically about the list we are going to use for this marketing.
 
Having a list in sales was important way before the Internet came along. It can be made up of past customers, sales prospects, or just people who are interested in what you have to share. These people may never have been one of your customers, but being a future customer doesn't make them any less important to your list. These are the people who very well might make your list as good as gold because they may be the person that refers you to a friend, coworker, or relative.
 
Once you figure out who you want on your list, it is time to start building it. You should incorporate various methods in building that list, some will be online while others will not. If you are giving something of value to the people that receive your email, it can build loyality and increased sales. Listed below are a few of the productive ways that I have found to build your list.
 
Word of Mouth - Ask people on your list to share your email with their friends, family, and coworkers. Make sure that your email and online content can be easily shared.
 
Website Interaction - Always give your reader the option to subscribe to your list. Make sure that the benefits of them doing so are clearly visible. Let them know why they should subscribe.
 
Point of Sale - Whether it is selling online or in person, prompt your customers to join your list. If they are already buying your products or services, it is a great chance to get them to join.
 
Customer Service Calls - Everyone has some level of customer interaction. When we interact with our existing customers, encourage them to join your mailing list.
 
Calls to Action - Give your customers or potential customers reasons for them to sign up. Offer giveaways, etc...anything to draw them to your list.
 
Printed Marketing - Look for ways on your printed material to have people join your mailing list. You can use QR Codes on your material to make it easy for them to go to the online signup.
 
Trade Shows - Many of us have giveaways at trade shows. This is a great way to collect business cards. Take the opportunity to get them to agree to join your list.
 
Social Media - Use your social media to build your list of email addresses and names. You can achieve this through periodic tweets asking for signups or tabs on your Facebook page.
 
As you can see there are many ways to start to build your list. When building your list, if possible, collect their email address, full name (so you can personalize it), and other critical information so you can segment your list. (Segmenting is sending to a portion of the list based on specific criteria.) Remember, this list is a living thing...you never stop building it.
 
Next week during our Coffee Break, we will cover some of the legal aspects of how to collect and use your list. If you have any questions about this week's topic, please let me know.

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Email - Most Overlooked Inbound Marketing

Everywhere you read nowadays, everyone is talking about social media and using it to grow your business. They are right. It can grow your business. So it is easy to overlook the number one inbound marketing channel for staying in front of people and influencing their decisions.

Recent research indicates that email has an ROI of around 4300%. Even before the Internet, someone told me that a good list is the best marketing tool you can have. Email makes having that list even more powerful.

 

Not only is email marketing effective and affordable, but it can grow relationships. By delivering a personalized and targeted email, you can make the reader feel important and appreciated. Your email gives value information and builds loyalty with the reader.

 

The last advantage of email marketing is that everything can be tracked. You can see if it was delivered, who opened it, if they clicked on any of the links or forwarded it to someone. And all of this in many cases is real time. By using these metrics, you can continue to refine your process and adjust for your audience.

 

Over the next few weeks, as we take our coffee break, I want to talk to you about email, the list and how to use it to make you more money on the Internet. In the next few weeks, we will talk about building a list, email content, email campaigns and drip marketing.

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Local SEO for Small Business

You may have heard of Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or Local Directory Submission. Local SEO can have huge benefits for small businesses. Take any search engine and search for a particular trade or business and look at the results. You can see right away how many directories are competing for you to click on them. Local SEO works by ensuring that you can be found more easily when someone is doing a search for a local business.

The most important directory to make sure you are on is Google Local/Places. Every month, Google handles close to seven billion local searches in the United States. With almost all of these searches, Google includes businesses from Google Local/Places in its results.

 

There are many other directories that you will want to look at as well. Some that you might want to consider are Angie's List, Bing,Yahoo, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Citysearch and Manta. Different directories do better in different areas. Search for your profession or business type and see which ones are most prominent for you. While most directories have paid listings, they also have free listings that are provide a lot of the desired effects.

 

When doing your directory submissions, here are a few tips that can help you get better results. First, always remember NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) should be exactly the same for all the submissions. Second, complete as much of the information as possible and include photos. Lastly, select all the categories that apply to your business and be as specific as you can. Use your keywords as much as possible in the descriptions.

Reviews, reviews, reviews! Once you get listed, get customers to go to some of these directories and review and/or rate your business. The search engines and directories like to promote the businesses that are active and have feedback to make for a better experience.

 

There is much more we can cover about Local SEO but we will save that for another time. If you have any questions about Local SEO or need help with being listed locally, let us know. We hope this information will get you started in the right direction.

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Know Your Enemy and Know Yourself

The Art of War. It is still very popular today and used to develop strategy for everything from war to personal development. To paraphrase one quote of his, ”Know your enemy and know yourself, and your victory will not be in doubt.” In regards to developing websites, we have already talked about knowing ourselves by looking at why we want a website. Our enemy is our competition.

One of the things I often do for clients is a competitive analysis. First, we determine who our competitor is. We may start making a list of companies that do the same type of work that we do. For example, if I am building a website for a plumbing company, I would make a list of all of the plumbers in the area. Many people will stop there; not me. I will challenge you to look beyond just the other plumbers because they are not your only competitors.

 

One of the goals is to get in front of the potential customer with the right information as quickly as possible. Any website that may come up before you do is your competitor. If we ignore these sites, we are almost sure to fail. Lets use as an example that we sell photographs online. We are positioned well against others that do the same. The problem is that if we ignore all the websites that talk about taking photographs or showing photo albums for individuals then we are going to get lost in the noise. The potential customer may then overlook us or get distracted and never get to our website.

 

We also want to look at websites that have similar functions to us. Our goal in looking at competitors is to develop a better strategy. We may not compete directly with these sites but they share many of the same functions and needs for the audience as we do. Use them and their lessons learned to help develop that better strategy.

 

As the importance and use of the Internet continues to grow in business, competition will become more fierce. It is becoming harder and harder to live in a vacuum and be successful on the Internet. Make sure that you know your enemy and yourself because if you don’t and he does, victory or success will then be in doubt.

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Getting the Best Results From Your Facebook Posts


Many of my clients are using Facebook to attract business. To understand why, let’s look at some Facebook statistics:  

 

  • Facebook has over 1.3 billion monthly active users.
  • 48% of them visit Facebook any given day for an average of 18 minutes.
     
  • The average number of friends that each user has is 130.
     
  • 1 million links are shared every 20 minutes.
     

You can see why Facebook is important to many businesses. During today's coffee break, we are going to talk about how we can get a bigger share of business through adding photos, creating less content, and involving the reader.

Everyone likes photos. We always look at them first, don’t we? It is as if our eyes are pulled to them regardless of what is on the rest of the page. Studies have shown that if you include a photo with a Facebook post, there is a 54% increase in likes, 104% in comments and 84% in clicks.

Have you heard the phrase "less is more"? This is true when posting on Facebook. 80 characters or less can get 66% more engagement. You can also see increases by posting no more than 1 or 2 times a day and 1 to 4 times a week. By reducing the size and frequency of the posts, the content tends to be more to the point, and we don't overdo our exposure with our readers.

So we have photos to draw people to our post and reduced content so we can get to the point. The next step is to construct the post as a question. Better yet, a question that your readers may often ask themselves. Get them involved. Question posts can increase comments by 100%.

I hope some of these suggestions will get you a better response the next time you post to Facebook. Keep in mind that what works for some may not work for everyone, so experiment with these suggestions and the days and times you post to see what works best for you.

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