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Web.com Small Business Toolkit: FedEx Small Business Grant Program (Contest)

October 17th, 2012 ::

FedEx Small Business Grant Program

You could win a grant of up to $25,000 from FedEx. In its first-ever nationwide small business grant competition, FedEx will award a total of $50,000 to six U.S. small businesses. Be able to tell a compelling story about your business and explain how you will use the money to grow.  The top winner will receive a $25,000 grant and the remaining five winners will receive grants of $5,000 each. If your business has fewer than 100 employees, you can enter by completing a profile to be voted on by Facebook users. Voting has already begun and will end on November 24, 2012.  In December, FedEx will review the entries and select and announce the top 100 finalists based on their contest profile and the number of votes they receive from Facebook users.

Contests, Content and Keywords: 3 Online Marketing Success Stories

February 9th, 2011 ::

coinsHubSpot recently released an eBook written by David Meerman Scott called 11 Examples of Online Marketing Success.  Because I love to learn from other companies and apply their successes to my own business, I couldn’t wait to read it.

Here is what I learned from a museum that used a contest, an e-commerce site that used content, and an industrial manufacturer that used keywords to energize their online marketing efforts (more success stories to come in future blog posts!):

1. Use Contests to Generate PR and Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing

This is a rather extraordinary example, but it is worth including because it is so darn clever!

Last summer, the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago decided to hold a very creative contest.  They wanted a Web-savvy person to live and sleep in their museum for a month, explore it and share their experiences via a blog and social media.  A 24-year-old Chicagoan, Kate McGroarty, won the contest, which included the 30-day museum-living experiment, $10,000 in cash, an array of tech gadgets and lifetime membership.

The contest was covered by mainstream media channels.  Once she was living in the museum, Kate blogged at least once a day, generating a steady flow of comments.  She created videos and uploaded them to YouTube.  She tweeted and created a Facebook page, which has nearly 4,000 likes and is still up (even though the contest ended at the end of November 2010).  Her page invited people to visit MSI’s own Facebook page, which now has over 17,000 likes.

Lesson: Use a creative contest to generate publicity, reach your target audience and expand your presence on social media.

2. Create Unique Content to Attract and Convert Leads

Creating unique, valuable content can really ignite lead generation, as e-commerce site Suitcase.com learned. Last year, they launched a survey via an e-mail invitation that queried customers on luggage usage, travel habits and other luggage-related questions.  They packaged the answers into the Consumer Luggage Report and placed the report on a Web page on their site where visitors could download it.  That page generated a 20 percent conversion rate, and the report was even picked up by Reader’s Digest.  As a result of sharing their knowledge, Suitcase.com has become a thought leader within the rather crowded online luggage e-tailer space.

Lesson: Repurpose content to create buzz, position your company as an industry leader and attract and convert leads.

3. Leverage Keywords to Improve Quality of Leads

I love this example, because it shows how a company in a very unsexy industry can greatly improve lead generation with a very basic online marketing tool: keywords.

SRS Crisafulli sells dredging and pumping products worldwide.  In order to effectively reach their numerous target markets, they decided to do some competitive keyword analysis.  They began using highly searched keywords to determine what products were most in demand, and they created content based on that information to educate potential customers.  By doing so, SRS Crisafulli has been able to generate more high-quality leads that are sales-ready.

Lesson: By understanding your potential customers’ search behavior and needs, you can create the educational content that turns a website visitor into a strong lead.

Have you held a contest, turned a survey into a report, or used keyword research to supercharge your online marketing efforts?  We’d love to hear about your successes!

Image by Flickr user Ca Ribiero (Creative Commons)