Blog

Web Marketing Star Blog

By Lee Starshine 24 Jan, 2015
With the growth of mobile devices, it’s time to tweak your subject line for emails that you send to your opt-in list. You spend a lot of time polishing a well-worded, mobile-friendly email with great images and a clear call to action. Don’t damage your open rate by muffing the subject line for your mobile subscribers.

Up to 43% emails are opened on a mobile device.* Your subscribers make a quick decision about whether to open the email based primarily on:

  • who it’s from
  • the subject line
  • the usefulness of emails you have sent in the past
  • Having a good subject line can really boost your open rate. It’s like a first impression, so make it count! Check out these takeaways to write a mobile-friendly email subject line.
Takeaway #1: Shorter is Better
mobile email subject examplesKeep is Short! A mobile screen is small, so your email needs to get to its point right near the top. Most mobile grazing is done on-the-go, so the subscriber’s behavior is different. As soon as they have to go to any effort to read the entire subject line, they are likely to lose interest. So keep your subject line short. It varies, but the first 30 characters are most likely to be visible. If your subject is longer than that, it can make people a little uneasy about the time and energy commitment they might have to make to grok the message. Short.

Takeaway #2: Get Their Attention
People scanning their emails have the attention span of a gnat. They make quick decisions about whether to open and read each email. You have around two seconds to get their attention. Focus on the first two words of the subject line — they are absolutely the most important. And make sure you inform them, briefly, why your email matters right now.

Takeaway #3: If it’s Urgent, Say So
If you make everything an emergency, your readers will see you as “crying wolf.” Don’t make it urgent all the time. But when you really have a time-limited offer or event, say it. “Just 12 tickets left for Wellness Seminar.” This inspires action for those adrenaline-pumped mobile users. Just don’t overuse this.

Takeaway #4: Avoid Spam Triggers
You might be able to get away with a slightly spammy word or phrase in the subject line, such as “free”, “weight loss” or “call now.” Click for a more complete list. But don’t use more spam trigger words in the body of the email. Most email marketing systems such as Constant Contact have a single button that predicts the likelihood of your email getting filtered as spam.

Takeaway #5: Can You Tease Them?
Get them curious by asking a question in the subject line. The reader will want to open the email to find out the answer.

Want to get a free trial of Constant Contact, the leader in email marketing? Just click this link to get started .

*Litmus, March 2013

Source: Constant Contact blogs
By Lee Starshine 28 Jun, 2014
If your company isn’t already mobile, or going mobile in the near future, then you are falling behind. In a March 2013 survey of small businesses by Constant Contact, a solid 66 percent of responders claimed to be using mobile devices or mobile optimized websites to grow their business.

Of these mobile marketers, the vast majority indicated a heavy reliance on social media and email for their communication. This trend should come as no surprise to anyone aware of how popular sites like Facebook, YouTube and Pintrest have become in just the past 2 to 3 years. Surprisingly, of those responders lacking any mobile action, nearly two-thirds expressed no plans of ever making the jump to the mobile world. Email popularity is a no-brainer as it represents the most time tested form of online marketing.

It is safe to say that the true power of the mobile device is coming in the not-so-distant future. Even those business that are taking advantage of mobile marketing may not understand the scope of possibility. Over half of the adult population of the United States owns a smartphone, according to a recent Pew Internet study. In case it is not clear, a smartphone these days = mobile internet. An astonishing 80% of people surveyed in the 18-29 age group use smartphones. Forget the US for a minute and observe the global scale of these statistics. 85% or higher of responders in Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom to another survey reported accessing the internet every day from their mobile device. Stationary computers are becoming the minority as the popularity and power of the mobile device grows exponentially.

Therefore, the efforts towards mobile optimization of any business should reap increasing rewards. The earth’s population is expanding, the online population is expanding and this expansion means means only one thing to serious marketers. More opportunities for conversion. Furthermore, a more complete – think website and online store in addition to social interaction – experience will better take advantage of this growing consumer crowd.

As a small business owner, often your responsibilities greatly eclipse the amount of time you have each day. Many small businesses, especially those without outright demand for mobile proficiency, have to skip this focus as it requires a learning curve, plus time and money invested in building a mobile experience. While this may be a completely valid reason to avoid mobile in the short term, at some point is will be simply unacceptable to be missing an online business component.

Whether you sell a physical product, information or a service, you can instantly make your storefront more attractive to potential customers by allowing them to skip the wait in line. At this point, the more efficient a consumer’s experience is the more enjoyable.

By Lee Starshine 14 Jan, 2014
Lee Starshine, President of Web Marketing Star, has become Master Certified by Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than 600,000 small organizations worldwide.

To achieve this Master Certification, the highest level of Constant Contact’s Solution Provider partner education, Ms. Starshine has completed a rigorous curriculum with five levels of assessment. These assessments include a Constant Contact knowledge exam, proven customer satisfaction results, and an interview and consultation, among other significant measurements. This comprehensive program ensures that when a business chooses to work with a Master Certified Solution Provider, they are getting the services of an expert with proven results.

“I chose to become a Constant Contact Solution Provider in 2007 because their email marketing tools were head-and-shoulders above its competitors at the time,” said Starshine. “They have maintained their lead by continuously upgrading and supporting their marketing systems, culminating in their new, fully-featured ToolKit.” Ms. Starshine and her company have helped more than 50 businesses get started with Constant Contact. She recently moved to the Wappingers Falls from Fairfield, Iowa.

Web Marketing Star’s clients include small businesses and non-profits that want to build better relationships and grow their business with online marketing. The company specializes in content creation, factual articles for websites, and opt-in email marketing. They also offer online marketing plans, event registration, surveys, social media, and website development. Starshine has a Master of Arts degree in Professional Writing, and has been creating websites for 20 years.

“Small businesses are inundated with solutions and services claiming to help achieve success—and while most could really benefit from that help, knowing which services to trust can be daunting,” said Arthur Steinert, vice president and general manager, channel partner sales and marketing, Constant Contact . “With a Master Certified Solution Provider, small business owners can feel confident that they are truly getting the best of the best. By completing Master Certification, Starshine has demonstrated advanced knowledge in online marketing best practices and a proven track record in delivering measurable results for the clients that seek the services of Web Marketing Star.”

About Web Marketing Star LLC
Web Marketing Star helps small businesses and non-profits get results through online marketing. Originally founded by Lee Starshine (formerly Leffler) as “The Newsletter Gal” in 2004, the company has two employees and several partners, including a professional proofreader, a programmer, and a stable of skilled writers. Web Marketing Star LLC offers online marketing plans, content creation, opt-in email marketing, event registration, surveys, social media, and website development. It conducts business in both New York State and Iowa, with clients in New York State and across the country.

About Constant Contact, Inc.
Constant Contact helps small businesses do more business. We have been revolutionizing the success formula for small businesses, nonprofits, and associations since 1998, and today work with more than 600,000 customers worldwide. The company offers the only all-in-one online marketing platform that helps small businesses drive repeat business and find new customers. It features multi-channel marketing campaigns (newsletters/announcements, offers/promotions, online listings, events/registration, and feedback) combined with shared content, contacts, and reporting; free award-winning coaching and product support; and integrations with critical business tools – all from a single login. The company’s extensive network of educators, consultants/resellers, technology providers, franchises, and national associations offer further support to help small organizations succeed and grow. Through its Innovation Loft, Constant Contact is fueling the next generation of small business technology.

Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.
By Lee Starshine 08 Jan, 2014
Unlike spam, email marketing lists are opt-in and built over time. It’s tempting to grab every business card at a trade show and scan email addresses into your computer. But a list built that way is not permission-based. How can you build an opt-in list?

Business owners who have figured out the magic of email marketing treat their email list like gold. They send the right messages at the right time to make sales and build trust. Here are some easy tips for building a legit opt-in list:

  • Add a signup form to your website. Constant Contact provides a tool that gets you up-and-running in minutes with no knowledge of HTML.
  • From Facebook and Twitter, ask followers to sign up for your list. Link to your website’s signup form – use a link shortener such as ow.ly.
  • Constant Contact offers a “Join My Mailing List” app on your Facebook Page for easy sign-up within Facebook.
  • Train your staff to ask every customer they meet whether they want to receive your email newsletter. Prepare a script and an example of the emails you send out.
  • Whenever someone places an order at your online ecommerce store, request an email address. Add a checkbox that says “Yes, I want to receive occasional special offers and information by email from this company (Your privacy is assured)”.
  • Whenever your clerk checks out a customer’s order at your brick-and-mortar store, request an email address. This can be simplified by using Constant Contact’s Capture tool (Windows software) to record the customers’ email addresses at the checkout desk.
  • Next time you print a paper customer comment card, add a field for email address. Or create a QR code they can scan with their smartphone that will send them to an online survey, and ask for their email address there as part of the survey.
  • Install basic counter displays, wall displays and tent cards at your business. Tell subscribers what they will get: exclusive and relevant content, special offers, event announcements, etc.
  • Offer a monthly prize drawing for people who drop their business card or email signup form into a container. Indicate that by entering, they are joining your email list.
  • When you meet a customer or prospect who is not yet on your email list, sign them up by text message. Constant Contact offers a number that can receive a code exclusive to your company; when activated, it asks for their signup information by text.
  • An iPhone or iPod Touch can run the free QuickView app to get signups at networking opportunities such as seminars, tradeshows, business meetings, etc.
  • Post an announcement about your upcoming newsletter on your social media channels. Tell them what they will get if they subscribe. Link to your signup form.
  • Constant Contact has a scan-to-Join feature for the more advanced smartphone users. A QR code can be printed out on posters, cards, etc. that can be scanned by a smartphone. The QR code sends them to an email list signup page that is easy to use.
  • At every public event where you participate or exhibit, bring a signup sheet and display it prominently

Build your email marketing list carefully and you will be sure that your marketing messages reach the right audience—to create sales while developing trust and loyalty.

Constant Contact offers a free 60-day trial and a special offer each month. Click to see this month's Constant Contact deal .
By Lee Starshine 02 Jan, 2014
To stay in business, you need a steady stream of customers. This starts with communicating with your audience on a regular basis. Having an ongoing dialogue increases their trust of your company, and helps you stay top-of-mind. Do this right, and they will look forward to hearing from you.

Email marketing is an excellent channel for reaching out to your customers and prospects. People who give your company permission to send emails to them are showing interest. They are even showing a bit of trust and commitment. These are the kind of people you want to reach out to on a regular basis.

You can start building an email list right away, even before you have prepared an email campaign. Just ask people who come into contact with your company to provide their email address and agree to receive occasional emails from you. Provide a signup form when you meet customers and prospects face-to-face. Put a signup form on your website – email marketing services such as Constant Contact provide signup forms you can use. Link to the signup form from your company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media accounts.

What should you email out, and how often? That depends on your type of business and your current goals. Here are some examples:

  • A fitness center might prepare a weekly email of upcoming classes and events at the location. They can run special offers in the weekly email – on the same day each week. Occasionally, they can draw attention to a campaign or event by sending an email on a different day.
  • An ecommerce website sends an email every two weeks with special offers, product highlights and links to articles on their own website.
  • A non-profit issues emails as-needed to drum up event attendees, volunteers and donations. Emails get more frequent during a campaign, and less often during downtimes.
Did you know that people are more likely to refer their friends and co-workers to companies they love and trust? You want to be that type of company. Provide a great product or service, fill a need, and keep up the quality over time. Not everyone has to be your customer: focus on several target markets. Figure out what type of customer they are by segmenting the email list when they sign up. Let them choose what type of topics they are interested in, and perhaps how frequently they want to receive emails. You can do this right on the email signup form. If you already have a list that you are sending to, you can conduct a survey to help segment the list. Constant Contact’s survey tool allows you to instantly create groups based on how subscribers fill in the survey.

There are many email marketing systems to choose from, but which is best for your customer? They will want:
  • relevant content (tips, news, knowledge, articles, etc.)
  • An easy way to subscribe
  • an easy way to unsubscribe
  • privacy – you will not reveal their email address
  • advanced notice of what they are signing up for
  • exclusive offers
  • regular communication
  • notice of upcoming events and specials
As the company running an email campaign, you might be tempted to choose a free service such as BCC (blind carbon-copy). Sending an email to a recipient list can cause untold damage to your organization. Some day, a mistake will be made and the entire list will be revealed to all. Also, the chances of your email getting past spam barriers are not good. And you cannot track the results: opens, clicks and forwards.
A shortcut service will offer “free email marketing service if you have fewer than x number of subscribers for life.” This service will allow you to log in and upload your contacts, then prepare an email in their system and send it out. The main problem with this type of free service is that you might be getting what you pay for. Try out their phone-based customer service. Look at reviews online. Rummage around to find out what you have to pay for, and when. Read through the help and try several searches in the help system.

Constant Contact offers a free trial, which ends after 60 days or when you reach 100 subscribers. Their customer service team, based in Andover, MA is second-to-none and will answer all your questions. They have plenty of live and recorded webinars, and well-written help topics. They provide free coaching when you start with the service. They also offer surveys and a way to run events. Click to give Constant Contact a try .

By Lee Starshine 11 Jul, 2013
Social media represents an opportunity for your company to increase its marketing reach. The possibilities for marketing your company using social media are endless. People spend time social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube sharing information, communicating, doing business, and exchanging information. Social media has the undeniable power to link people regardless of their distance. They can keep in touch from across the world almost as if they are just right next to each other.

On social media, people don’t just sit and watch the news. They can be part of what’s happening through virtual conversations and information exchanges that happen continuously on social media.

Businesses are utilizing social media to expand their reach and turbocharge their interactions with clients. While we are all familiar with social media and how it works, we often miss out on some very easy ways to really maximize its potential for our business. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure people know where to find you on social media. Strategically position social media buttons that will enable visitors to share your content or follow you. These social media icons may be placed on your homepage, blog posts and emails. You can even mention your social media presence on printed material, and include a QR code to connect.
  • Everything is mobile these days. Make sure your share and follow buttons appear clearly and strategically on the mobile version of your website. Check with your developer to see how your mobile site appears across various mobile platforms.
  • Depending on the social media tool you are using, make sure you tailor your message to suit them best. Some social media platforms allow only a short, catchy statement, while others may allow for something longer. On some platforms, a good photo or infographic helps get your message across.
  • Share content that people like to talk about. What’s in? What’s happening on the news? Who is popular? What is trending? Make sure your content is compelling and interesting. And then, once conversations start brewing, make sure you respond to comments and questions from your fans quickly.
  • Keep interactions alive. Interact with others who are not even in your network yet. Try retweeting posts from other people, or sharing an interesting update from an organization. Start relevant conversations by making comments in their social sites.
  • Make your posts during strategic times of the day. Don’t just make random posts whenever you feel like. You need to study your audience and their daily habits to help you find out when best to engage with them and expect more responses. Facebook has this in its analytics; various Twitter tools tell you when your followers are listening.
  • Be in the know about what’s happening, consistently. By doing this, you are positioning yourself as reliable source out the latest news. More people will want to follow you and get a load on today’s trends and news. Ride on what people are talking about and use the momentum to benefit your business.
  • Visuals is the way to go. Make use of interesting photos, infographics, videos, animation, and any other catchy visuals that are worth sharing and talking about. Go easy on text-heavy posts. Instead, use good visuals to engage more people with your brand.
  • Hashtags are great at promoting events and products. Create a hashtag for your product launch or webinar. This will help create more buzz about you and your brand. Every time someone uses the tag and talks about your event, they will be automatically advertising and promoting you to their own networks.
Marketing using social media is not rocket science. Expanding your reach on social media requires consistent attention on good content, quick responses and trend-spotting.
By Lee Starshine 07 Jun, 2013
You have done the research. You have studied the pros and cons of your existing web hosting. You have gathered content and created a foolproof marketing plan. There is one highly important decision to make. Find a place to host your website. Finding a host for all your hard work can seem like a daunting task with the number of options out there.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a web host.

Pricing: Do some price comparison and research depending on what your main objective is with your website. The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true very often for the hosting industry. The cheapest option may seem attractive at first but make sure to take a look at the features offered. It will usually pay off to invest a little more per month to receive high quality service, especially if you plan to rely heavily on the site to bring in money.

Technical Specs: If you plan to provide a content rich interaction with your customers, run an active blog or provide an e-commerce service then server specs matter. Again, cheaper hosts are running less powerful machines while slightly more expensive hosts can provide a big boost in power. Look at the limitations of the service; are additional domains extra? How about backing up your data or additional tech support? The last thing you want to deal with as a money making, traffic heavy website is for the server to go down so find a company offering 99.9% uptime.

Tech Support: Speaking of downtime, should you ever experience any problems, your host’s tech support guys will instantly become your best friends. Tech support can be a huge deciding factor for many potential customers. You want easily accessible, 24/7 support in case of emergencies. Find a company who prides themselves on customer support as, like technical specs, not all hosts are equal in this regard.

Email: How robust if their email support? It may be the age of social media and open communication but email isn’t dead yet. A good hosting company will provide a spam-free and versatile email experience.

Control Panel Support and Scalability: The control panel should allow you to do most of your tweaking work without ever having to contact the hosting company. Tasks like installing WordPress or setting up email and FTP accounts should be straight forward and easy. A good control panel should be intuitive and well organized. Finally, there should be room to grow on any host that you choose. Your website is not meant to be a static environment so you are going to need adequate space to expand. It needs to be easy to upgrade your account as necessary.
By Lee Starshine 30 May, 2013
With the increases in mobile shopping, custom mobile apps represent huge potential.

Your customers are spending more time than ever on their smartphones, so you need to be there too. The best way to reach customers on their mobile devices is by offering them a free app that connects them to your business. Being accessible on mobile devices can really boost your business to new heights with improved customer interaction. Custom mobile apps aim to improve both sales and service for the end goal of a better customer experience and more money for you!

It is virtually impossible to go anywhere without seeing the majority of people around you using their smartphone. Clearly, anything important should be readily available at all times to the mobile consumers. The smartphone allows for this access and the mobile app is the vehicle of accessibility.

Yes, a mobile website is important for getting found and giving mobile visitors a good experience. But a mobile app sits right on the SmartPhone desktop, ready-to-use. Not too many mobile users know how to put a link to your website’s home page on their desktops. Also, and more importantly, a mobile app can have far more functionality. For example, with mobile apps, you can send can push notifications and put your important or timely message front-and-center. That would take additional programming that would be tricky or too expensive through a mobile version of your website.

What good is marketing if nobody can find their way through the doors of your business? Luckily, we have you covered there as well. Top mobile apps have GPS support to give turn-by-turn directions directly to your brick and mortar location. Couple this with the ability to create points of interest on the map and one-touch calling and you can build a clear path right to your doorstep. Create further incentive for potential sales by distributing mobile, GPS unlockable coupons.

Got something on your mind or an important point to make to customers? Notepad integration with vocal recording capabilities makes jotting down ideas a breeze. Flesh out the topic, publish those ideas in your blog and easily display them with the app-integrated RSS feed. Further spread the word by automatically importing contacts from your mobile app into popular email campaign managers, such as Constant Contact, iContact and MailChimp.

By catering to the mobile-minded consumer, businesses are following the old maxim that the customer is always right. Instead of resisting the trend, why not let the customers easily lead your business to new heights? There is a reason that billions of apps have been downloaded in the short history of the smart mobile device. They help your business make more money.

By Lee Starshine 24 May, 2013
While everyone knows the value of social media marketing to reach out to potential supporters and customers, proper etiquette on social networks like Twitter can be a forgotten art. Gaining followers is equally important to holding onto their continued support and respect. The way to do that is by observing good social manners when you tweet. When the hashtags and retweets are flying, it’s vital to remember that what you do with your tweets doesn’t go unnoticed by those that could be furthering your brand. Below you’ll find some helpful Twitter etiquette dos and don’ts.

DON’T use bots and follower-boosting schemes. It’s tempting to pull in followers quickly. However, when other Twitter users see things like you following them just to ultimately unfollow once they’ve returned the favor, it’s a major turnoff. The message is that you’re only in the Twitter game for an impersonal popularity contest.
DO provide content that naturally engages. And engage with others. Twitter users will follow and respond to tweets that question and challenge–without your having to manipulate them.

DON’T overuse hashtags and keywords. They are necessary tools to attracting interested users and starting or joining trending discussions, as well as boosting your SEO. Cramming tweets full of too many hashtags and keywords makes them start to sound inhuman and unreadable, and look too cluttered.
DO find a good balance. A combination of non-keywords and only a few keywords and hashtags that are relevant to your brand make for more valuable and readable tweets, and ones that potential followers will be more interested to come across.

DON’T focus on just your own content. A timeline dominated by only tweets of your own company’s content might tell followers or potential followers that you aren’t interested in engaging with other users and content.
DO mix in retweets and other interaction with followers and like-minded tweeters along with your own self-promotion to avoid an overwhelming amount of only one type of tweet over another.

DON’T misappropriate other businesses’ hashtags. Though another company may have come up with a stellar trending hashtag, don’t ride coattails by hopping onto it. This behavior looks bad for both you and the other company if you’re using it for irrelevant content.
DO come up with original hashtags that specifically further your business. It’s okay to engage with other companies through their hashtags, too, just as long as you’re bringing useful and relevant content to the table.

DON’T fill in all 140 characters of the tweet. This makes it difficult for other people to re-tweet you. Remember, retweets add several characters to the tweet. The format is “RT” plus a space, plus your twitter handle. And maybe they will feel inspired to add a short comment too! You don’t want to miss out on this by hogging all 140 characters.
DO limit yourself to around 120 characters to make room for retweets plus the retweeter’s comments. Take advantage of every possible avenue to grow your company on Facebook!

DON’T automatically unfollow someone who doesn’t follow you back. You cannot take it personally that they did not follow you after you followed them. Maybe they didn’t get around to it. Or maybe they never bothered to look you up. It is not a “diss” and it doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship with them.
DO try interacting with them! Send them a public tweet, asking them a question, or sharing an idea or story. Like this: “@webmarketingstarstr What do you think of the new Facebook news feed?”

Mind your manners on Twitter to maximize this social media platform, and have fun! Be your authentic self — while being your polite self.
By Lee Starshine 23 May, 2013
If lead generation is important to your business, your website is an ideal place to get them. From your “home base,” you can control the visitor’s experience and can make the best impression. Additionally, these visitors came to you, and this is one of the best types of leads. It is commonly thought that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) alone will bring in tons of leads, but if you have tried this, you probably know that SEO is not enough. Make sure these five elements are in place on your website.

Landing Page

A landing page is a page that site visitors are likely to land on. Yes, the home page is one of them, but look in your site analytics report and you will see there are many more. Landing pages can also be pages you drive traffic to via email and social media. Landing pages are a very important component of your marketing strategy. This is where you collect relevant information from potential customers and store them as leads in your database. These leads are then engaged further with the goal of converting the right ones.

Landing pages are a part of most marketing websites, and while creating them may be easy, there are certain areas most businesses miss out that lead to marketing failure. Check your current landing page versus the checklist below and see what needs improvement.

  • Keyword-rich, catchy title and headline (H1)
  • Clear, attention-grabbing copy
  • Relevant visuals
  • Easy-to-use form that gathers the minimum amount of info needed
  • Useful offer, such an ebook, exclusive video, webinar, infographic, free consult, guide, etc.
Conversion Path
Ultimately, you want as many site visitors as possible to respond to one of your calls to action. The entire transaction from start to end is called the conversion path. Every part of this process needs to be carefully crafted to ensure that a potential client will complete the process until the end. You need to make sure that every step in your transaction is clear and easy to follow. The moment a visitor gets confused, he will most likely press the “back” or “close” button. And you will lose a potential sale.

Value Proposition
Why should a customer choose you over the rest? With so many similar product and service providers, what will make people choose you? What can you offer that others can’t? Once you have successfully answered these questions, then you have created your value proposition. Make sure you clearly state the best value of your brand in a sentence. Customers must be able to read and appreciate your value in a quick look.

Test your proposition and see what your colleagues think about it. Then, take a look at your competitors and see how you actually measure up with them.

Targeted Content
The type of content and messaging you put on your website, your collateral, and other materials will spell the difference between failure and success. The layout, visuals, and overall content strategy on your website is essential to the success of your marketing strategy.

Make sure you use the right keywords, utilize links, incorporate SEO, blog regularly, and use other strategies to make sure your content is compelling enough.

Home Page
Your website home page could be the most often viewed asset of your business; this is your best brand ambassador. The layout, color scheme, headline, and tabs on your homepage play a critical role in introducing your brand to the public. Make sure to give close attention into designing your homepage. And re-design it as needed.

Want a new, responsive website that looks great on all screen sizes? Click to get a free quote from Web Marketing Star .
More Posts

Web Marketing Star Blog

By Lee Starshine 24 Jan, 2015
With the growth of mobile devices, it’s time to tweak your subject line for emails that you send to your opt-in list. You spend a lot of time polishing a well-worded, mobile-friendly email with great images and a clear call to action. Don’t damage your open rate by muffing the subject line for your mobile subscribers.

Up to 43% emails are opened on a mobile device.* Your subscribers make a quick decision about whether to open the email based primarily on:

  • who it’s from
  • the subject line
  • the usefulness of emails you have sent in the past
  • Having a good subject line can really boost your open rate. It’s like a first impression, so make it count! Check out these takeaways to write a mobile-friendly email subject line.
Takeaway #1: Shorter is Better
mobile email subject examplesKeep is Short! A mobile screen is small, so your email needs to get to its point right near the top. Most mobile grazing is done on-the-go, so the subscriber’s behavior is different. As soon as they have to go to any effort to read the entire subject line, they are likely to lose interest. So keep your subject line short. It varies, but the first 30 characters are most likely to be visible. If your subject is longer than that, it can make people a little uneasy about the time and energy commitment they might have to make to grok the message. Short.

Takeaway #2: Get Their Attention
People scanning their emails have the attention span of a gnat. They make quick decisions about whether to open and read each email. You have around two seconds to get their attention. Focus on the first two words of the subject line — they are absolutely the most important. And make sure you inform them, briefly, why your email matters right now.

Takeaway #3: If it’s Urgent, Say So
If you make everything an emergency, your readers will see you as “crying wolf.” Don’t make it urgent all the time. But when you really have a time-limited offer or event, say it. “Just 12 tickets left for Wellness Seminar.” This inspires action for those adrenaline-pumped mobile users. Just don’t overuse this.

Takeaway #4: Avoid Spam Triggers
You might be able to get away with a slightly spammy word or phrase in the subject line, such as “free”, “weight loss” or “call now.” Click for a more complete list. But don’t use more spam trigger words in the body of the email. Most email marketing systems such as Constant Contact have a single button that predicts the likelihood of your email getting filtered as spam.

Takeaway #5: Can You Tease Them?
Get them curious by asking a question in the subject line. The reader will want to open the email to find out the answer.

Want to get a free trial of Constant Contact, the leader in email marketing? Just click this link to get started .

*Litmus, March 2013

Source: Constant Contact blogs
By Lee Starshine 28 Jun, 2014
If your company isn’t already mobile, or going mobile in the near future, then you are falling behind. In a March 2013 survey of small businesses by Constant Contact, a solid 66 percent of responders claimed to be using mobile devices or mobile optimized websites to grow their business.

Of these mobile marketers, the vast majority indicated a heavy reliance on social media and email for their communication. This trend should come as no surprise to anyone aware of how popular sites like Facebook, YouTube and Pintrest have become in just the past 2 to 3 years. Surprisingly, of those responders lacking any mobile action, nearly two-thirds expressed no plans of ever making the jump to the mobile world. Email popularity is a no-brainer as it represents the most time tested form of online marketing.

It is safe to say that the true power of the mobile device is coming in the not-so-distant future. Even those business that are taking advantage of mobile marketing may not understand the scope of possibility. Over half of the adult population of the United States owns a smartphone, according to a recent Pew Internet study. In case it is not clear, a smartphone these days = mobile internet. An astonishing 80% of people surveyed in the 18-29 age group use smartphones. Forget the US for a minute and observe the global scale of these statistics. 85% or higher of responders in Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom to another survey reported accessing the internet every day from their mobile device. Stationary computers are becoming the minority as the popularity and power of the mobile device grows exponentially.

Therefore, the efforts towards mobile optimization of any business should reap increasing rewards. The earth’s population is expanding, the online population is expanding and this expansion means means only one thing to serious marketers. More opportunities for conversion. Furthermore, a more complete – think website and online store in addition to social interaction – experience will better take advantage of this growing consumer crowd.

As a small business owner, often your responsibilities greatly eclipse the amount of time you have each day. Many small businesses, especially those without outright demand for mobile proficiency, have to skip this focus as it requires a learning curve, plus time and money invested in building a mobile experience. While this may be a completely valid reason to avoid mobile in the short term, at some point is will be simply unacceptable to be missing an online business component.

Whether you sell a physical product, information or a service, you can instantly make your storefront more attractive to potential customers by allowing them to skip the wait in line. At this point, the more efficient a consumer’s experience is the more enjoyable.

By Lee Starshine 14 Jan, 2014
Lee Starshine, President of Web Marketing Star, has become Master Certified by Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than 600,000 small organizations worldwide.

To achieve this Master Certification, the highest level of Constant Contact’s Solution Provider partner education, Ms. Starshine has completed a rigorous curriculum with five levels of assessment. These assessments include a Constant Contact knowledge exam, proven customer satisfaction results, and an interview and consultation, among other significant measurements. This comprehensive program ensures that when a business chooses to work with a Master Certified Solution Provider, they are getting the services of an expert with proven results.

“I chose to become a Constant Contact Solution Provider in 2007 because their email marketing tools were head-and-shoulders above its competitors at the time,” said Starshine. “They have maintained their lead by continuously upgrading and supporting their marketing systems, culminating in their new, fully-featured ToolKit.” Ms. Starshine and her company have helped more than 50 businesses get started with Constant Contact. She recently moved to the Wappingers Falls from Fairfield, Iowa.

Web Marketing Star’s clients include small businesses and non-profits that want to build better relationships and grow their business with online marketing. The company specializes in content creation, factual articles for websites, and opt-in email marketing. They also offer online marketing plans, event registration, surveys, social media, and website development. Starshine has a Master of Arts degree in Professional Writing, and has been creating websites for 20 years.

“Small businesses are inundated with solutions and services claiming to help achieve success—and while most could really benefit from that help, knowing which services to trust can be daunting,” said Arthur Steinert, vice president and general manager, channel partner sales and marketing, Constant Contact . “With a Master Certified Solution Provider, small business owners can feel confident that they are truly getting the best of the best. By completing Master Certification, Starshine has demonstrated advanced knowledge in online marketing best practices and a proven track record in delivering measurable results for the clients that seek the services of Web Marketing Star.”

About Web Marketing Star LLC
Web Marketing Star helps small businesses and non-profits get results through online marketing. Originally founded by Lee Starshine (formerly Leffler) as “The Newsletter Gal” in 2004, the company has two employees and several partners, including a professional proofreader, a programmer, and a stable of skilled writers. Web Marketing Star LLC offers online marketing plans, content creation, opt-in email marketing, event registration, surveys, social media, and website development. It conducts business in both New York State and Iowa, with clients in New York State and across the country.

About Constant Contact, Inc.
Constant Contact helps small businesses do more business. We have been revolutionizing the success formula for small businesses, nonprofits, and associations since 1998, and today work with more than 600,000 customers worldwide. The company offers the only all-in-one online marketing platform that helps small businesses drive repeat business and find new customers. It features multi-channel marketing campaigns (newsletters/announcements, offers/promotions, online listings, events/registration, and feedback) combined with shared content, contacts, and reporting; free award-winning coaching and product support; and integrations with critical business tools – all from a single login. The company’s extensive network of educators, consultants/resellers, technology providers, franchises, and national associations offer further support to help small organizations succeed and grow. Through its Innovation Loft, Constant Contact is fueling the next generation of small business technology.

Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.
By Lee Starshine 08 Jan, 2014
Unlike spam, email marketing lists are opt-in and built over time. It’s tempting to grab every business card at a trade show and scan email addresses into your computer. But a list built that way is not permission-based. How can you build an opt-in list?

Business owners who have figured out the magic of email marketing treat their email list like gold. They send the right messages at the right time to make sales and build trust. Here are some easy tips for building a legit opt-in list:

  • Add a signup form to your website. Constant Contact provides a tool that gets you up-and-running in minutes with no knowledge of HTML.
  • From Facebook and Twitter, ask followers to sign up for your list. Link to your website’s signup form – use a link shortener such as ow.ly.
  • Constant Contact offers a “Join My Mailing List” app on your Facebook Page for easy sign-up within Facebook.
  • Train your staff to ask every customer they meet whether they want to receive your email newsletter. Prepare a script and an example of the emails you send out.
  • Whenever someone places an order at your online ecommerce store, request an email address. Add a checkbox that says “Yes, I want to receive occasional special offers and information by email from this company (Your privacy is assured)”.
  • Whenever your clerk checks out a customer’s order at your brick-and-mortar store, request an email address. This can be simplified by using Constant Contact’s Capture tool (Windows software) to record the customers’ email addresses at the checkout desk.
  • Next time you print a paper customer comment card, add a field for email address. Or create a QR code they can scan with their smartphone that will send them to an online survey, and ask for their email address there as part of the survey.
  • Install basic counter displays, wall displays and tent cards at your business. Tell subscribers what they will get: exclusive and relevant content, special offers, event announcements, etc.
  • Offer a monthly prize drawing for people who drop their business card or email signup form into a container. Indicate that by entering, they are joining your email list.
  • When you meet a customer or prospect who is not yet on your email list, sign them up by text message. Constant Contact offers a number that can receive a code exclusive to your company; when activated, it asks for their signup information by text.
  • An iPhone or iPod Touch can run the free QuickView app to get signups at networking opportunities such as seminars, tradeshows, business meetings, etc.
  • Post an announcement about your upcoming newsletter on your social media channels. Tell them what they will get if they subscribe. Link to your signup form.
  • Constant Contact has a scan-to-Join feature for the more advanced smartphone users. A QR code can be printed out on posters, cards, etc. that can be scanned by a smartphone. The QR code sends them to an email list signup page that is easy to use.
  • At every public event where you participate or exhibit, bring a signup sheet and display it prominently

Build your email marketing list carefully and you will be sure that your marketing messages reach the right audience—to create sales while developing trust and loyalty.

Constant Contact offers a free 60-day trial and a special offer each month. Click to see this month's Constant Contact deal .
By Lee Starshine 02 Jan, 2014
To stay in business, you need a steady stream of customers. This starts with communicating with your audience on a regular basis. Having an ongoing dialogue increases their trust of your company, and helps you stay top-of-mind. Do this right, and they will look forward to hearing from you.

Email marketing is an excellent channel for reaching out to your customers and prospects. People who give your company permission to send emails to them are showing interest. They are even showing a bit of trust and commitment. These are the kind of people you want to reach out to on a regular basis.

You can start building an email list right away, even before you have prepared an email campaign. Just ask people who come into contact with your company to provide their email address and agree to receive occasional emails from you. Provide a signup form when you meet customers and prospects face-to-face. Put a signup form on your website – email marketing services such as Constant Contact provide signup forms you can use. Link to the signup form from your company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media accounts.

What should you email out, and how often? That depends on your type of business and your current goals. Here are some examples:

  • A fitness center might prepare a weekly email of upcoming classes and events at the location. They can run special offers in the weekly email – on the same day each week. Occasionally, they can draw attention to a campaign or event by sending an email on a different day.
  • An ecommerce website sends an email every two weeks with special offers, product highlights and links to articles on their own website.
  • A non-profit issues emails as-needed to drum up event attendees, volunteers and donations. Emails get more frequent during a campaign, and less often during downtimes.
Did you know that people are more likely to refer their friends and co-workers to companies they love and trust? You want to be that type of company. Provide a great product or service, fill a need, and keep up the quality over time. Not everyone has to be your customer: focus on several target markets. Figure out what type of customer they are by segmenting the email list when they sign up. Let them choose what type of topics they are interested in, and perhaps how frequently they want to receive emails. You can do this right on the email signup form. If you already have a list that you are sending to, you can conduct a survey to help segment the list. Constant Contact’s survey tool allows you to instantly create groups based on how subscribers fill in the survey.

There are many email marketing systems to choose from, but which is best for your customer? They will want:
  • relevant content (tips, news, knowledge, articles, etc.)
  • An easy way to subscribe
  • an easy way to unsubscribe
  • privacy – you will not reveal their email address
  • advanced notice of what they are signing up for
  • exclusive offers
  • regular communication
  • notice of upcoming events and specials
As the company running an email campaign, you might be tempted to choose a free service such as BCC (blind carbon-copy). Sending an email to a recipient list can cause untold damage to your organization. Some day, a mistake will be made and the entire list will be revealed to all. Also, the chances of your email getting past spam barriers are not good. And you cannot track the results: opens, clicks and forwards.
A shortcut service will offer “free email marketing service if you have fewer than x number of subscribers for life.” This service will allow you to log in and upload your contacts, then prepare an email in their system and send it out. The main problem with this type of free service is that you might be getting what you pay for. Try out their phone-based customer service. Look at reviews online. Rummage around to find out what you have to pay for, and when. Read through the help and try several searches in the help system.

Constant Contact offers a free trial, which ends after 60 days or when you reach 100 subscribers. Their customer service team, based in Andover, MA is second-to-none and will answer all your questions. They have plenty of live and recorded webinars, and well-written help topics. They provide free coaching when you start with the service. They also offer surveys and a way to run events. Click to give Constant Contact a try .

By Lee Starshine 11 Jul, 2013
Social media represents an opportunity for your company to increase its marketing reach. The possibilities for marketing your company using social media are endless. People spend time social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube sharing information, communicating, doing business, and exchanging information. Social media has the undeniable power to link people regardless of their distance. They can keep in touch from across the world almost as if they are just right next to each other.

On social media, people don’t just sit and watch the news. They can be part of what’s happening through virtual conversations and information exchanges that happen continuously on social media.

Businesses are utilizing social media to expand their reach and turbocharge their interactions with clients. While we are all familiar with social media and how it works, we often miss out on some very easy ways to really maximize its potential for our business. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure people know where to find you on social media. Strategically position social media buttons that will enable visitors to share your content or follow you. These social media icons may be placed on your homepage, blog posts and emails. You can even mention your social media presence on printed material, and include a QR code to connect.
  • Everything is mobile these days. Make sure your share and follow buttons appear clearly and strategically on the mobile version of your website. Check with your developer to see how your mobile site appears across various mobile platforms.
  • Depending on the social media tool you are using, make sure you tailor your message to suit them best. Some social media platforms allow only a short, catchy statement, while others may allow for something longer. On some platforms, a good photo or infographic helps get your message across.
  • Share content that people like to talk about. What’s in? What’s happening on the news? Who is popular? What is trending? Make sure your content is compelling and interesting. And then, once conversations start brewing, make sure you respond to comments and questions from your fans quickly.
  • Keep interactions alive. Interact with others who are not even in your network yet. Try retweeting posts from other people, or sharing an interesting update from an organization. Start relevant conversations by making comments in their social sites.
  • Make your posts during strategic times of the day. Don’t just make random posts whenever you feel like. You need to study your audience and their daily habits to help you find out when best to engage with them and expect more responses. Facebook has this in its analytics; various Twitter tools tell you when your followers are listening.
  • Be in the know about what’s happening, consistently. By doing this, you are positioning yourself as reliable source out the latest news. More people will want to follow you and get a load on today’s trends and news. Ride on what people are talking about and use the momentum to benefit your business.
  • Visuals is the way to go. Make use of interesting photos, infographics, videos, animation, and any other catchy visuals that are worth sharing and talking about. Go easy on text-heavy posts. Instead, use good visuals to engage more people with your brand.
  • Hashtags are great at promoting events and products. Create a hashtag for your product launch or webinar. This will help create more buzz about you and your brand. Every time someone uses the tag and talks about your event, they will be automatically advertising and promoting you to their own networks.
Marketing using social media is not rocket science. Expanding your reach on social media requires consistent attention on good content, quick responses and trend-spotting.
By Lee Starshine 07 Jun, 2013
You have done the research. You have studied the pros and cons of your existing web hosting. You have gathered content and created a foolproof marketing plan. There is one highly important decision to make. Find a place to host your website. Finding a host for all your hard work can seem like a daunting task with the number of options out there.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a web host.

Pricing: Do some price comparison and research depending on what your main objective is with your website. The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true very often for the hosting industry. The cheapest option may seem attractive at first but make sure to take a look at the features offered. It will usually pay off to invest a little more per month to receive high quality service, especially if you plan to rely heavily on the site to bring in money.

Technical Specs: If you plan to provide a content rich interaction with your customers, run an active blog or provide an e-commerce service then server specs matter. Again, cheaper hosts are running less powerful machines while slightly more expensive hosts can provide a big boost in power. Look at the limitations of the service; are additional domains extra? How about backing up your data or additional tech support? The last thing you want to deal with as a money making, traffic heavy website is for the server to go down so find a company offering 99.9% uptime.

Tech Support: Speaking of downtime, should you ever experience any problems, your host’s tech support guys will instantly become your best friends. Tech support can be a huge deciding factor for many potential customers. You want easily accessible, 24/7 support in case of emergencies. Find a company who prides themselves on customer support as, like technical specs, not all hosts are equal in this regard.

Email: How robust if their email support? It may be the age of social media and open communication but email isn’t dead yet. A good hosting company will provide a spam-free and versatile email experience.

Control Panel Support and Scalability: The control panel should allow you to do most of your tweaking work without ever having to contact the hosting company. Tasks like installing WordPress or setting up email and FTP accounts should be straight forward and easy. A good control panel should be intuitive and well organized. Finally, there should be room to grow on any host that you choose. Your website is not meant to be a static environment so you are going to need adequate space to expand. It needs to be easy to upgrade your account as necessary.
By Lee Starshine 30 May, 2013
With the increases in mobile shopping, custom mobile apps represent huge potential.

Your customers are spending more time than ever on their smartphones, so you need to be there too. The best way to reach customers on their mobile devices is by offering them a free app that connects them to your business. Being accessible on mobile devices can really boost your business to new heights with improved customer interaction. Custom mobile apps aim to improve both sales and service for the end goal of a better customer experience and more money for you!

It is virtually impossible to go anywhere without seeing the majority of people around you using their smartphone. Clearly, anything important should be readily available at all times to the mobile consumers. The smartphone allows for this access and the mobile app is the vehicle of accessibility.

Yes, a mobile website is important for getting found and giving mobile visitors a good experience. But a mobile app sits right on the SmartPhone desktop, ready-to-use. Not too many mobile users know how to put a link to your website’s home page on their desktops. Also, and more importantly, a mobile app can have far more functionality. For example, with mobile apps, you can send can push notifications and put your important or timely message front-and-center. That would take additional programming that would be tricky or too expensive through a mobile version of your website.

What good is marketing if nobody can find their way through the doors of your business? Luckily, we have you covered there as well. Top mobile apps have GPS support to give turn-by-turn directions directly to your brick and mortar location. Couple this with the ability to create points of interest on the map and one-touch calling and you can build a clear path right to your doorstep. Create further incentive for potential sales by distributing mobile, GPS unlockable coupons.

Got something on your mind or an important point to make to customers? Notepad integration with vocal recording capabilities makes jotting down ideas a breeze. Flesh out the topic, publish those ideas in your blog and easily display them with the app-integrated RSS feed. Further spread the word by automatically importing contacts from your mobile app into popular email campaign managers, such as Constant Contact, iContact and MailChimp.

By catering to the mobile-minded consumer, businesses are following the old maxim that the customer is always right. Instead of resisting the trend, why not let the customers easily lead your business to new heights? There is a reason that billions of apps have been downloaded in the short history of the smart mobile device. They help your business make more money.

By Lee Starshine 24 May, 2013
While everyone knows the value of social media marketing to reach out to potential supporters and customers, proper etiquette on social networks like Twitter can be a forgotten art. Gaining followers is equally important to holding onto their continued support and respect. The way to do that is by observing good social manners when you tweet. When the hashtags and retweets are flying, it’s vital to remember that what you do with your tweets doesn’t go unnoticed by those that could be furthering your brand. Below you’ll find some helpful Twitter etiquette dos and don’ts.

DON’T use bots and follower-boosting schemes. It’s tempting to pull in followers quickly. However, when other Twitter users see things like you following them just to ultimately unfollow once they’ve returned the favor, it’s a major turnoff. The message is that you’re only in the Twitter game for an impersonal popularity contest.
DO provide content that naturally engages. And engage with others. Twitter users will follow and respond to tweets that question and challenge–without your having to manipulate them.

DON’T overuse hashtags and keywords. They are necessary tools to attracting interested users and starting or joining trending discussions, as well as boosting your SEO. Cramming tweets full of too many hashtags and keywords makes them start to sound inhuman and unreadable, and look too cluttered.
DO find a good balance. A combination of non-keywords and only a few keywords and hashtags that are relevant to your brand make for more valuable and readable tweets, and ones that potential followers will be more interested to come across.

DON’T focus on just your own content. A timeline dominated by only tweets of your own company’s content might tell followers or potential followers that you aren’t interested in engaging with other users and content.
DO mix in retweets and other interaction with followers and like-minded tweeters along with your own self-promotion to avoid an overwhelming amount of only one type of tweet over another.

DON’T misappropriate other businesses’ hashtags. Though another company may have come up with a stellar trending hashtag, don’t ride coattails by hopping onto it. This behavior looks bad for both you and the other company if you’re using it for irrelevant content.
DO come up with original hashtags that specifically further your business. It’s okay to engage with other companies through their hashtags, too, just as long as you’re bringing useful and relevant content to the table.

DON’T fill in all 140 characters of the tweet. This makes it difficult for other people to re-tweet you. Remember, retweets add several characters to the tweet. The format is “RT” plus a space, plus your twitter handle. And maybe they will feel inspired to add a short comment too! You don’t want to miss out on this by hogging all 140 characters.
DO limit yourself to around 120 characters to make room for retweets plus the retweeter’s comments. Take advantage of every possible avenue to grow your company on Facebook!

DON’T automatically unfollow someone who doesn’t follow you back. You cannot take it personally that they did not follow you after you followed them. Maybe they didn’t get around to it. Or maybe they never bothered to look you up. It is not a “diss” and it doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship with them.
DO try interacting with them! Send them a public tweet, asking them a question, or sharing an idea or story. Like this: “@webmarketingstarstr What do you think of the new Facebook news feed?”

Mind your manners on Twitter to maximize this social media platform, and have fun! Be your authentic self — while being your polite self.
More Posts
Share by: