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From Just an Idea to Getting Funded - How to Run a Successful Kickstarter

If you’re trying to get a business off the ground, I could list few places better than Kickstarter to start off, other than your really generous friend’s trust fund. Not everyone is that lucky, though, so most people with either a product or service to sell has to start somewhere small. There’s no shame in that small start being in crowdfunding.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Crowdfunding.pngKickstarter, and similar services such as Indygogo, often get a bad rap because of the success rate of projects put up on those sites. The average percentage of crowdfunding projects that fail hovers around the 50% mark, much higher than you as a business owner would want it to be. Why do Kickstarters fail? Other than the amount of just plain laughable projects up for funding, what many folks don’t realize that there’s a pretty specific formula you have to follow to rise to the top of Kickstarter. The formula isn’t so much rigid as it is moldable to your own needs, but it does include a few key aspects, of which we’ll discuss today.

Building up Your Audience

Before you even touch Kickstarter, the first essential step is to build up your audience. I can’t stress this enough. Kickstarter gives you a limited time frame to get funded, so why not get ahead of the game and start building hype for your project? Figure out what your niche is, and find bloggers who are in the same demographic you’re trying to target. Connecting with these bloggers is an art in itself, and Alex over at Groove wrote a great post explaining how to successfully build relationships with bloggers and other influential people in your niche. To put a long story short, don’t be too pushy in your engagements, focus on building a real relationship, and make sure you can help them too. No one wants to give you free help, so contribute to conversations on their blog, offer them constructive criticism, and be the least pushy as you can be. Think of it as speed dating, but instead of a hot date, you’re looking for backers.

Plan, Plan, and Plan Again.

Again, here we’re using time to your advantage. Instead of trying to complete everything within a month, make sure you have as much planned as you can beforehand, sometimes even months before you start your campaign. Devise a marketing plan in advance, and schedule every milestone you plan on hitting. Use tools such as Hootsuite to schedule regular social media posts so that’s one less thing you have to worry about it. From a marketing standpoint, you should treat it as if it’s already a business. If you’re that serious about it, you’ll have a higher chance of it actually becoming one. Some things to take into consideration while planning:

  • Consider tacking your project onto an already existing cause, increasing your audience and giving your project a more official background.
  • Keep your backers engaged. No one wants a stale project. Add things regularly, such as T Shirts, stickers, etc. Anything to keep people happy so they bring on more backers.
  • Keep consistent with your promotion. Don’t start the project and let it go dormant. As stated before, this should be treated like it already is a business.

Look As Professional As Possible

This could be the hardest aspect of running a successful Kickstarter, and is entirely dependant on how creative you are or how large your budget is. Unless you have the next innovation as big as the light bulb on your hands, chances are people are just going to skip over your project with a mediocre video and zero graphics. For example, would you pass over a Kickstarter that offered a new type of screw? Unless you’re a contractor, I bet you said yes there. Now, how about after seeing this video?

I’ve never wanted a screw so badly in my life. Now, that video was obviously professionally done, but the point still stands: professionalism is key. Humor is key. Branding is key. Making your project stand out above the other-guy-doing-the-same-thing is key. So, do what you need to do. If that means hiring someone to handle the creative aspect, it might be what you need.

If you keep these three steps in mind, I can’t guarantee that your project gets funded. You will, however, have a much better chance and will learn some things about running a business along the way. Happy crowdfunding!

Looking for assistance getting your idea off the ground with a Kickstarter? Give us a call at 504-521-6222 and we'll work together to make your crowdfunding campaign a success!

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Beyond the Usuals: Using Vine, Snapchat, Reddit & Quora for Your Company's Social Media Marketing

We all know, love, and use the social giants for our various marketing needs. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been in play for a few years now. Recently, applications such as Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube have become increasingly important in any business’ marketing profile. “Increasingly important,” however, is threatening the delicate relationships users have with those services.

A fine line has developed between the social media both companies and people use, and those used mostly for personal use. Despite how much marketing and advertising companies try, most people just don’t like seeing ads that much. The average ad-blocking rate (even back in 2012) was 9.26% according to Clarity Ray. Those numbers are clearly on the rise, according to Google Trends.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Adblock-Trending-Over-Time.jpg

This chart goes to show how people don’t really want businesses in their personal internet lives. But as an internet advertising agency, we have to ask: how do you do it?

Marketing has blended in well with the giants (those listed above,) so for the sake of this blog post, let’s focus on a few where the masses are still struggling for a viable social media strategy: Vine, Snapchat, Reddit, and Quora.

Vine

Vine is Twitter’s foray into the video market. It’s a mobile app that allows users to post looping six second videos which are then shown in a Twitter-esque feed with the ability to follow, like, revine, and use hashtags. In layman’s terms, it’s visual Twitter. The service has dawned some great viral trends in 2014, such as Crack Kid, Do It For The Vine, among others. Over the past few months, the most popular users have boiled down to a group of around 30 “Viners” ranging in age and demographic. Companies such as Ford and Tide paid popular users to Vine on their behalf, as if acting in a 6 second ad. The cheap way to do it would require you to be funny and original on your own, but not many people have the time or resources for that. Try Vining about funny things that happen around the office, daily life, etc. Vines shouldn’t be commercials, they should be personal.

Vine also has the distinction of being incredible young (even more so than Tumblr). Whereas many social networks have middle ages in the thirties, or in some cases (i.e. LinkedIn) forties, Vine's average user is between 18 - 20 years old! If that's your target demographic, then you need to be investing in this network.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Taco-Bell-snapchat.jpgSnapchat

An app that allows users to send picture and video messages that self destruct after viewing. Certainly there’s no way business can use this, right? Wrong. Get your mind out of the gutter because Snapchat has a ton of more uses than what the first users thought (and probably did use it) for. Companies like Taco Bell use it to, in my mind, get the thought of Taco Bell in my head. That’s all it takes, usually. Sending a Snap of a taco is sure to get at least some people to by one. The New Orleans Saints use Snapchat just to keep fans up to date, which as a fan, I really appreciate. Here’s a novel idea though: Use Snapchat to send out coupons ranging from 10-50% off your goods or services. The catch is, users don’t know how much % of they’ll get until they actually use the coupon at the cash register. It’s all about engaging with the customers without seeming too pushy, and Snapchat is a great way to keep things personal.

Reddit

Reddit is arguably the social media platform with users the most hostile to advertisers. This is due to the fact that Reddit itself is very democratic, allowing users to “upvote” and “downvote” content as they see fit, meaning only the best content reaches the top. Any attempts to sway that vote, unscrupulously, will be met with aggression (rightfully so).

Aside from paid ads, the best way to make an impact with Reddit is to find the right Subreddit (a whole Reddit page devoted to one of thousands of subjects and topics) related to your organization and start participating. Creating an AMA (Ask Me Anything) for your boss in the appropriate Subreddit is a great way to both get your name out there and interact with potential customers. Be informational rather than promotional, and you'll find over time people will naturally trust you as a source.

Quora

Quora is a question and answer website where users submit questions, and professionals answer them. Much like Reddit, the best answers are voted upon and the good ones rise to the top. To make an impact on Quora, don’t masquerade yourself - be your company, and be honest. These are real people looking for real answers. Give them the answer they want, and they’ll put their trust in you, and in turn, your company. As stated before, with social media, being personable and trustworthy are key.

This is a list of the top non-major Social Media sites you should be looking into during 2014, but we're sure it'll change by next year (if not by next month.) Keep checking Online Optimism's blog to stay up to date on the latest social network news, and give us a call at 504-521-6222 if you have any questions about what strategy your company should take!

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Getting Your Optometrist Office Ahead in Marketing for Louisiana Eye Surgery

The enactment of House Bill 1065 is great news for Louisiana optometrists. In an effort to benefit citizens in rural areas, the bill expands the capabilities of Louisiana optometrists to include several key procedures that were previously exclusively performed by ophthalmologists. With extended procedural capabilities come new opportunities for business growth, and therefore the potential for an increased patient base. Developing or updating a marketing strategy now can put an optometrist at the top of the list for potential patients in need.

Photo Credit: <a href=Hechlok" title="b2ap3_thumbnail_Eye-Surgery-in-Louisiana-Marketing.jpg" style="float: right; border: 0; margin: 10px;">House Bill 1065 grants optometrists the right to perform several new procedures that do not require anesthesia and that can occur in an exam room. The first allows optometrists to use needles or injections to lance sties and chalazions (inflamed cysts) on the eyelid. Three other procedures granted by HB 1065 relate to the use of lasers. YAG Laser Capsulotomy treats what is called “secondary cataract,” which results from blurring of the artificial lens inserted during cataract surgery. Peripheral Iridotomy and Trabeculoplasty are procedures which alleviate fluid and pressure build-up in the eyes of patients with certain types of Glaucoma. The extension of these injection and laser privileges to optometrists is an effort to better serve patients who may not have access to an ophthalmologist and who may be in need of recurring ocular care.

However, from a provider perspective it may be difficult to reach patients in rural areas and to communicate the nuances of HB 1065 to all patients. Therefore, eye care providers must initiate a marketing campaign that informs as well as engages patients to be proactive about their eye care. The first step is a clean and modern website that is updated with the latest news and information on eye care services and capabilities. An optometrist’s new capabilities should be prominently displayed and explained on the website, so that patients understand what can and cannot be done in that provider’s office. Additionally, in the case that a patient’s needs match an optometrist’s offerings, contact information must be clearly displayed in every facet of the site.

In addition to an excellent site, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can ensure that a provider’s page displays at the top of search results. Currently, a search for “cataract surgery Louisiana” returns a list of surgery centers and ophthalmologists. Simple SEO tactics can ensure that the name and website of a newly certified optometrist appears alongside those ophthalmologists who perform similar procedures.

Further, a blog can teach readers about eye health while allowing optometrists to engage directly with their patient base. This interaction builds the provider-patient relationship that is necessary to fostering trust and subsequent repeat visits. Blogs also increase the credibility and authority of a provider while appearing in search results when related key words or search terms are entered by a patient in need.

You have new capabilities and responsibilities to worry about, so let us take care of reaching new patients for you. Give Online Optimism a call today to create a new marketing strategy for your practice. Feel free to reach us at (504) 521-6222 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Why Social Media Coupons Will Help Your Business Rule the World (Or the Internet, at Least)

In 2013, more than 50% of adult internet users in the US redeemed a digital coupon. This number is expected to continue to rise at a rapid rate as smart phone usage proliferates and alters consumer patterns. Offering coupons through social media can generate a multitude of benefits for your business if you create an effective strategy. Here are some of those benefits and the ways you can successfully utilize coupons to build your brand awareness and capture the attention of a wider net of consumers:

1.No upfront costs

Imagine all of the paper and postage you could save by posting a coupon onto your brand’s Facebook page instead of mailing that same coupon to ten thousand people. Better for the environment, more convenient for consumers, cheaper for you.

b2ap3_thumbnail_limited_15off_coupon-297x300.jpg2. Rewards

Social Media Coupons offer a channel to reward loyal consumers with discounts. By offering the fans of your Facebook page or Twitter account exclusive deals you can make your customers feel valued and special. Sending discounts allows you to treat your followers like personal friends you are sharing a tip with, rather than as customers you are blatantly pitching. By rewarding them with the discount, they are more likely to share positive reviews of your products and services with others, expanding the reach of your brand to untapped markets.

3. Lure New Customers

Social media coupons also provide a great way to convert page views into new consumers. Once a new customer has patronized your business, you have the opportunity to turn them into a loyal repeat customer. Therefore, taking a profit cut for a coupon can be worth it in the short term to secure the long-term business of new consumers. Remember that each new customer brings you their own business, as well as the potential to reach out to their own social networks to promote your product.

4. Incentive To Share

When you employ an effective coupon strategy, you can give followers and fans increased incentive to share your content on their social networks. For example, if you own a restaurant, you can offer a free dessert to any customer who "checks in" on Facebook, which will put your name in the news feeds of all of their friends. Or if you own a shoe store, you can offer a $10 discount on sneakers to anyone who retweets you. This will have a similar effect - every person following them will be exposed to your brand. Providing incentives for consumers to post and share your content increases awareness of your brand and can stimulate new business.

5. Brand Awareness

Coupons can be used as an easy way to interact with fans, gain followers and build your brand's image. Coupons offer a direct link between you and your customers, and can help you spread the word and increase web traffic to your pages.

6. Stimulate Trials of New Products

If you are offering a new product or service and want to encourage people to try it, social media coupons are a great way to do so. By offering a discount, you let loyal insiders access this product at a discounted rate and have a ready-made focus group to provide you with feedback. Additionally, by setting time limits on these coupons, you can increase the speed of sales of these products.

7. Up-selling and Cross-Selling Potential

It is crucial to allow for both of these in your coupon structure. For example, if you are offering $10 off of the cheapest sneakers you sell, be sure to include in your terms and conditions that consumers can use the coupon for more expensive pairs of sneakers or for sandals instead. By allowing up-selling and cross-selling, you increase potential revenues by giving consumers the flexibility to purchase more expensive products and still enjoy the satisfaction of the discount.

8. Tracking

The true beauty of the social media coupon lies its trackability. You can easily determine the age, gender, location, and language of each person who used your coupon. Additionally, you can track if they became a repeat consumer. This offers you a minefield of free data on your target market to collect for future marketing use and for effective structuring of future promotions. Social media coupons present a win-win for you and your consumers. You can reward loyal customers, generate new business, and promote brand awareness. Consumers enjoy discounts that they would be unable to find elsewhere, setting your brand apart from competitors.

Could social media couponing boost your business? Give us a call at 504-521-6222 and we’ll help you figure it out!

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How Your B2C Company Needs to be Marketing on LinkedIn

With a user base encompassing over 1/3 of the professionals on the planet and executives from every Fortune 500 company, Linkedin’s potential as a marketing resource has traditionally been associated with B2B strategy, while B2C companies have focused more heavily on Facebook and Twitter. Marketing a company effectively on LinkedIn, though, has often been out of many organization's reach. It is time for rethink your presence on Linkedin.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Consuming-Buying-Power-Index.jpgLinkedin recently released some data on the purchasing power of their user base, revealing serious potential for effective B2C interaction. Remember that Linkedin users, just like Facebook and Twitter users, are consumers who buy televisions and dishwashers and sweaters too. However, Linkedin users have more disposable income and higher levels of education than the average American. Linkedin has coined the term “Prosumers” to describe their users. 80% of these Prosumers are willing to pay more to purchase from a trusted brand and they are 152% more likely to be active in online conversations. Essentially, Linkedin users have more buying power than users on other social media platforms. So, if you are a B2C company selling high end products or services, Linkedin can pave a pathway to millions of potential consumers who are wealthier, more brand conscious, and more socially active.

How can your B2C marketing strategy best utilize the site’s tools to reach these Prosumers?

Company Pages

Company Linkedin Pages help establish your credibility. From reporters to bloggers and everyone in between, Linkedin offers thousands of routes to reach out to journalists and gain coverage for your brand, increasing your media presence and establishing yourself as a trusted expert, bolstering your reliability and authority.

Promoting Company Culture

The majority of Linkedin users are on the site to pursue professional development and job searches. While your company profile offers a great way to support your HR department in a cost-effective manner and recruit the right people to help build your brand, it also offers you an opportunity to promote your company culture to these Prosumers. They may stumble upon your page looking for job openings and connections (users can see if they know anyone working for your company), but if you build a strong page with quality content, they will stick around to check it out.

Groups

You can use the Groups function to effectively reach your target market. Say you are opening a running store in Charlotte, NC. What better way to start connecting with potential customers, influencers, and brand ambassadors than perusing the Charlotte Running Club group? You can find out about races, local events, and even offer discounts. (Disclaimer: Don’t be overtly promotional or risk getting kicked out of some groups. This is not the main purpose of the groups section so we recommend treading lightly before blatantly pitching to them). Or, you can create your own group to boost your brand’s profile. You can utilize your personal group to offer insider discounts, form focus groups, send samples, gather market data, and stimulate growth through countless other methods of Prosumer interaction.

Relationship Cultivation

Linkedin can also be a great resource for building and maintaining relationships with other companies. Stay in touch with people in your industry, and outside of it. Use your profile to keep them updated on the capabilities of your brand. This can lead to future referrals or partnerships.

Linkedin Marketing Tools

Finally, Linkedin offers tools like analytics and polls to track traffic and capture valuable consumer data. In addition, you can target sponsored ads by company, location, and job title. This is a seriously effective way of reaching your ideal consumers.

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Don’t let Linkedin remain an untapped resource for your B2C marketing campaign. Keep in mind that Linkedin, like Facebook and Twitter, can be an effective platform for increased consumer engagement. While the end goal may be the same, remember that the approach taken to reach these Prosumers must be tailored to fit Linkedin's professional environment.

If your LinkedIn marketing efforts need a rethinking (or even need to be started completely), we're happy to help! Give us a call at 504-521-6222 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can get started today.

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