Category Archives for "Content Marketing"

Why Your Business Needs a Content Calendar

Social media can sometimes feel like a shot in the dark for local business owners – believe us, we know. Although content marketing sometimes feels overwhelming, it is one of the most accessible tools for local businesses to promote products and services to an online audience.

Nowadays, people are more likely than ever before to find your business through social media channels. So, before they even see your website, they’re experiencing your brand on social media. Think of your content marketing as a virtual storefront for your business, giving your customers an online experience of your local storefront.

But in addition to running a business, the upkeep of a virtual storefront can be just as exhausting. The time, resources, mental willpower, to do content marketing can take up a big portion of your day, every day. But wait… There is a solution!

Developing a content calendar to implement your content strategy will completely revolutionize your approach to online marketing.

What is a Content Calendar?

Your content includes anything from images, videos, stories, emails, blogs, and ads that you share online to build your virtual storefront. A content calendar takes all these essential elements of your engagement and transforms them into a calendar that tells you what to share, when to share it and where you will share it for your business.

A typical content calendar will assess a two to six-month overview of your content and develop a strategic implementation of the content to make your life easier. A content calendar will become a central tool in your marketing tool kit when it's done right.

Attracting customers is essential to successfully operating any local business, whether you run a restaurant, pet shop, or novelty comic bookstore. A content calendar can revolutionize your content marketing, saving you time, effort, money, and willpower.

Now, a content calendar may sound like a lot of time and effort that you don’t have to invest at this moment. But it actually makes creating content more straightforward while increasing the effectiveness of your outreach.

Why should every local business be using a content calendar?

There are, of course, many benefits to local businesses creating and using content plans, so let’s find out more.

  1. Square Up Your Marketing

Keeping track of your marketing strategy can be exhausting on top of your day-to-day job. Emails, blogs, social media posts, and more must be cohesive to achieve positive results for your business. Creating an entire overview with a content calendar means a few things for your business.

A. Content that is more consistent in quality and easier to produce.

B. It is simpler to develop content that overlaps, saving you time and guesswork on effective strategies.

Struggling to brainstorm ideas? Use SEMrush to spy on your competitors. The tool offers a wealth of other content-generating ideas, but sometimes it's easiest to garner inspiration from other businesses in your niche.

Of course, don’t go and steal their content word for word. But when you’re struggling for ideas on ways you can engage the same audience there’s nothing wrong with using the same strategies if they work.

2. Get Organized and Save time

Set aside one to two days to plan your content marketing content in bulk for the next 2-6 months. Once it’s planned out, the rest of the time you just have to make sure you’re following the same strategy making tweaks here & there when needed.

A content calendar gives you a better perspective on the overall strategy you have for your business and helps you implement it with an organized approach.

3. Automate Everything

With content creation out of the way, you can use any automation tool to schedule when your social media should be posted and where it should be posted. Automation is a saving grace for a local business, which can’t happen when you're trying to film a random reel every day to post at the last minute.

With a good content calendar that has thought out every detail beforehand, it is so much easier to consistently post good content because the thinking is already done for you. In a small business, you’re likely acting as the HR manager, the face of the business, the IT guy, and the marketing guru every single day. Having one less job to do on a daily basis is a massive plus in making a local business thrive.

There are a number of automation tools. Hootsuite is one of these useful marketing tools that can automate across several platforms. And it also comes with a built-in monitoring feature that enables you to monitor stats across platforms. Social Pilot, ContentStudio and BuzzSumo are other great tools to consider using to automate your content planner.

4. Stay Consistent

You could be posting the most engaging and wow-worthy social media posts and content. But posting irregularly with great content lacks the impact your online marketing needs to be effective. Content marketing is most impactful when there is reliable engagement from a local business’s audience. Irregular posts create an out-of-sight, out-of-mind feeling for your audience, which ultimately crashes the effectiveness of content, even if it is good. A content calendar can change this.

5. Track the Data

While it may not always be the first priority, using a content calendar allows you to easily track your data. Content should continuously improve on itself, and when you can clearly see what resonates with your audience, you can easily make tweaks to your strategy. Information and numbers remove the guesswork from content marketing and social media while you see results in your business.

What Does A Content Calendar Include?

Now that you know the what, let’s jump into the how of creating a content calendar. Here’s a general guideline for figuring out what works the best for your business.

First things first, give your content a once over and audit everything. You can see your audience, what campaigns and posts are your best performers, and where there are gaps in your content strategy.

Your next step is to define goals from the information you gathered. Do you want to produce new leads? Direct readers to your website? Grow your number of Facebook followers? Setting out with a goal to work backward from will help you brainstorm better content more efficiently and quickly.

Next, you are going to create a template for your content calendar. Google Sheets is a free and straightforward tool to use. You’re going to decide on blog posts, social media platforms, and other forms of engagement that work well for your local business.

Don’t like the idea of using Google Sheets? HubSpot offers a free downloadable template for excel that will make planning your content planner smooth and breezy. Trello is a content planning platform that offers a free option to help you content plan like the boss you are.

It can be easier to develop a content calendar for one to two months to work out any bugs and keep on improving. With the important dates penciled in, fill in the gaps with a mixture of content that creates consistency for your small business.

Feeling a bit stretched thin to fill in all the gaps? Schedule in evergreen and prior content that is still relevant to your business. Unleash your creativity and invest some time into building your virtual storefront.

Facebook’s (now Meta) resources section has free and accessible resources that lay out all the aspects of planning and setting up a great content calendar in spectacular details. Go check it out!

By utilizing some of the strategies and resources mentioned in this article you will save time, money, and effort by developing a content calendar that works for your local business. This will be a game-changer for local business owners who are doing content marketing in-house.

So, what are you waiting for? Instead of just shooting from the hip each week on social media – It's time to implement a content calendar to ensure you’re reaching and engaging with as much of your audience as you can.

 

3 Offline Marketing Strategies That Will Drive Customers Right to Your Front Door

Sometimes, local businesses need to think out of the proverbial box when it comes to marketing strategies to drive sales and increase brand awareness. And while widely useful, online marketing isn’t always the answer to creating the connections that local businesses need in order to leverage sales and develop that all-important brand awareness in local communities.

In contrast, offline marketing can still attract new customers who will walk through the front door of your business tomorrow and buy your products and services.

 

In many ways, offline marketing has become an out-of-the-box way to increase brand awareness in a world where online marketing is the norm. Every local business can make use of online marketing, but offline strategies can be your “Ace in the Hole” solution that allows you to connect with new prospects and drive more sales.

There are quite a few offline marketing methods that are still very effective even in today’s online world, we’re going to be revealing 3 of our favorites.

  1. Spread Your Message Everywhere With EDDM

EDDM, also known as Every Door Direct Mail, is a unique way of thinking about direct mail marketing that benefits local businesses. With EDDM, a business can deliver mail directly to every door in a neighborhood without the need for any specific addresses or names.

Most businesses will scoff at direct mail marketing today, calling it ineffective and outdated. But when is the last time they actually tried it? People are far more inundated with pop ads, email subscriptions, and banner ad displays online than with physical ads, making physical ads an effective marketing strategy. EDDM works because it laser targets your local customer base.

The only thing your business needs to do is specify the carrier route and create eye-catching postcard to promote your business.

EDDM is also a fraction of the cost of other direct mail campaigns and is one of those simple but effective marking strategies that drive sales to your business without too much investment or effort to see significant results.

2. Partner with a local business

Reaching out to other local businesses that have a similar customer base and complementary services but not in direct competition with you to form a partnership is an excellent offline marketing strategy.

There are many benefits to be reaped from these strategic alliances that include strengthening both businesses’ brands, accomplishing mutual sales and marketing goals, and reaching all-new audiences.

This is an exciting strategy as you form an alliance with another business to create bigger and better solutions for your customers. Starting the process isn’t difficult and can be done by approaching another business in your local area to get the ball rolling.

Consider which business might be open to forming an alliance and expanding their own brands with an all-new marketing strategy. This could look like offering joint classes and workshops, working on new services together, developing a joint project, or simply offering unique perks like coupons and discounts. These alliances should always benefit both brands equally.

For any local business, pooling resources and reaching a wider audience while remaining independent is the perfect win-win opportunity.

Some examples of complementary services include…

Lawn Care Services and Home Cleaning Services

Flower Shop and Bakery (think wedding cakes)

Auto Detailing Service and Autobody Repair Service

Accounting Firm and Legal Office

Finding the right partnership is going to be key in the success of this campaign. But with some effort and creative collaboration both businesses will benefit by plugging into each other’s existing customer base and developing a plan for growth.

3. Try a little Guerrilla Marketing

Spending large amounts of money on marketing is not always a viable option for small businesses. That is where guerrilla marketing steps onto the scene. Low cost, effective, and easy to execute is just a few ways to describe guerrilla marketing tactics. It's all about connecting with customers through your business and providing a memorable brand experience.

Several guerrilla tactics will drive sales to your front door but creating a memorable experience for your business away from your storefront is the beauty of this marketing strategy.

You could:

  • Give away free merchandise or services and ask for non-perishable food donations.
  • Offer a seminar in your area of expertise for your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Host a charity event and invite the local media.
  • Start a treasure hunt that involves hiding clues that lead to prizes. Have participants pick up maps in-store.
  • Sponsor a local youth sports team

Locally run businesses directly benefit from marketing strategies like this for several reasons like to get behind a cause they support, learn more about topic they find interesting, or simply to enjoy a coupon or a free product.

Offline marketing is not always a straightforward process, especially for local businesses that don't have the time and funds to run a large-scale marketing campaign. But the beauty of offline marketing is that you can draw customers in with a little out-of-the-box thinking to create a memorable experience that will bring customers right through your front door and keep them coming back for more.

 

Finding the Right Local Influencer for Your Business

Influencer marketing is a 6.5 billion dollar industry and the best marketing tool for businesses today.

As this online marketing strategy evolves, businesses are foregoing celebrity endorsements in favor of collaborating with local influencers in their community. Here’s why.

Increases brand awareness

First and foremost, local influencers bring the names of businesses to the attention of people who were previously unaware of their existence.

Obviously, all types of influencers do this, but local influencers are more effective and successful for businesses in specific geographic areas.

Plus local businesses can turn their favorite customers into their own personal influencers for fairly low cost by offering small incentives, like food & drink or merchandise.

Increased Engagement

Local influencers tend to have a deeper, more genuine connection with their followers than macro and celebrity influencers. They are more likely to know and connect with their followers on a more personal level.

Influencers with 100k or fewer followers, tend to make time for thoughtful responses and engagement.

According to research, influencers with 1,000 followers have the highest engagement ratio so don’t count them out because the ratio of engagement to followers is more important than the number of followers!

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri is considering removing ‘likes' from the social media platform entirely.

“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about.”

This potential evolution will make engagement an even more potent tool in the world of influencers.

Less Expensive

Contrary to what you may think, local influencers do not need to be paid thousands of dollars to endorse your business. Many people are willing to be influencers in exchange for smaller incentives.

“When I post a photo for taco Tuesday, I get free queso? Please sign me up!” Giving people the opportunity to try your product and share it with their friends and family is a great way to generate repeat business. It's a win-win situation for both parties.

Influencers gain credibility for their recommendation, businesses gain new customers, and both gain exposure.

Gives You Access to New Followers

Local influencers are ideal for small businesses because the majority of their followers will live in the same area who have never heard of your brand.

This means an influencer collaboration will allow you to reach a larger market of people who are close to your business but have never heard of our brand!

No matter how fantastic a local pizza joint is, it's unlikely that someone will fly across the country to try it unless they're already in town.

Maybe, unless they really love pizza, have a lot of spare cash, and are dying to go on a world's best pizza tour. I mean come on… Never, ever say never, right?

However, if someone local is scrolling through Instagram and sees a friend raving about it, they may decide to check it out on their next date night or if visitors from out of town see rave reviews about how delicious your pizza is while searching for food on Google, they are likely to want to see for themselves.

Enhances authenticity

Marketing professionals have long recognized that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing. Local influencers do this without making it appear as if the company is bragging about itself.

It's not salesy or gimmicky; it's just a person sharing something they enjoy with the people in their network. As a result, people are much more likely to respond to a sponsored post from a business page or influencer with a million followers.

Generates Fresh Content

Giving up some control and allowing an influencer to create their own content promoting your business accomplishes two important things.

#1: It reduces the workload on marketing campaigns. The business can provide guidelines (such as their unique hashtag) or suggestions, but it is up to the influencer to figure out how to communicate with their target audience. After all, they are the ones who are most familiar with them.

#2: Allowing local influencers to create their own content provides the business with new insight into the voice of the target audience.

Paying attention to what influencers say and how their followers respond is an excellent way to learn about your target audience.

Followers Can Trust You

When it comes to influencer marketing, savvy consumers are wary of celebrity endorsements.

Have you ever seen a celebrity in a skincare commercial claim that their secret to looking young is some miraculous anti-aging eye cream? I'm sure I'm not the only one who laughs at these commercials and immediately dismisses them.

But if a friend recommends a new restaurant that just opened up in my town, I am much more likely to try it than if a celebrity I don't know recommends it or I see a TV commercial about it.

Local influencers' human aspect is the future of internet marketing. Consider the importance of quality above quantity. Even if they don't have a large number of followers, they have a significantly better chance of reaching your target demographic.

Where Can I find a Local Influencer

Some of the most effective methods include:

1. Look at your current social media following.

Whether or not your business has a strong social presence, you may be shocked to find that some local or micro-influencers are already following you on social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. If they match your brand and are relevant to your product or service, they may be someone with whom you should explore forming a connection.

2. Research Local Hashtags for Your Area

A local hashtag search on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms is a wonderful approach to locate relevant local or micro-influencers. Of course, you can use Google to perform a local hashtag search and see what results it returns. You may also utilize the hashtag to see popular posts that include it, which may lead you to trending material generated by the local influencers you're looking for.

3. Find Out Who’s Talking About Your Business – both favorable and negative mentions.

It's far easier to locate and work with influencers if they already know about your business – and are likely delighted with your product or service since they're already talking about it. The rationale is simple: they're more inclined to promote your brand with enthusiasm.

4. Or use online tools like: Local Influence or Insense

What does it cost?

Prices and fees vary widely, from the micro-est of micro local influencers who are happy to trade a post for products & merchandise from more established influencers depending on their followers you can expect to pay $.01 to $.025 per follower or more. If you use tools or an agency that cost can go up even more.

Wrapping Up

No matter how many followers they have, local influencers can help you grow your business's social reach, improve your brand image, engage your audience, and attract new consumers. So, what do you have to lose? Now you’re armed with the information you need to pick the right local influencer for your business!

 

14 Ways You Can Boost Your Conversion Rates Right Now

As a business owner, you want to do everything in your power to increase your conversion rates. After all, more conversions mean more money in your pocket. Not only that, but they also lead to more customers and an increase in brand awareness.

This article will discuss 14 ways to boost your conversion rates to generate more revenue for your business. These strategies are easy to apply and don’t require a lot of time or expertise. So let’s get to work!

1. Use Attractive Visuals

When it comes to conversion rates, appearances matter. If your website looks outdated or lacks visuals, potential customers are likely to click away without taking any action.

To keep people engaged, make sure that your website is visually appealing and easy on the eyes. Use high-quality images and videos and pay attention to the overall design of your site.

If you want to take things a step further, consider using animation or interactive elements on your website. Just be careful not to go overboard.

2. Make Your CTA Clear and Concise

Your call-to-action (CTA) is one of the most important elements of your website. After all, it’s what tells visitors what you want them to do next. If your CTA is unclear or buried on your page, people are likely to move on without taking any action.

To increase conversions, make sure that your CTA is clear, concise, and easy to find. Use actionable language that tells visitors exactly what you want them to do, and make sure the button or link is visible and easy to click on. You might also want to consider using a CTA that stands out from the rest of your page – for example, by using a different color or making it larger.

3. Keep Content Localized

If you want to appeal to a local audience, make sure your content is localized. This means including things like your city or state in your headlines, using images of local landmarks, and mentioning local events. You can also use geo-targeting to show different content to people in other locations.

By keeping your content local, you can make your website more relevant to the people visiting it. You may also have improved performance in local searches.

4. Use Testimonials

One of the most effective tools is to show prospects that other customers have had a good experience with your product or service. In fact, over 90% of customers read testimonials before making a purchase.

You can do this by using testimonials from satisfied customers on your website. Make sure to include the customer’s name, location, and photo if possible.

5. Offer Live Customer Support

In today’s world, people expect to get quick assistance when they need it. If you want to increase conversions, offer live customer support on your website through a chat window or by providing a phone number. According to Zendesk, 85% of surveyed customers are satisfied with live chat support, and 91% with phone support.

By offering live customer support, you can answer any questions that potential customers have and make them feel confident doing business with you.

6. Utilize Email Campaigns

If you have a list of email addresses from past customers, let them know about any promotions or sales that you’re currently running. This is a great way to increase conversions because it allows you to reach out to people already interested in what you have to offer.

To make things even easier, you can set up an automated email campaign that will send out messages to your list on a regular basis.

7. Make Things Simple

A customer has a problem and needs a solution to their problem – That is sales simplified. When it comes to conversion rates, simplicity is key. If your website or products/services are too complicated, people will likely give up and go elsewhere. So make sure your customer can easily navigate your website to find the information they are searching for.

Use straightforward language and avoid using too much technical jargon.

8. Use A/B Testing

A/B testing is a hands-on tactic for increasing conversions by testing different versions of your website or product. You can conduct A/B testing by creating two versions of your site and then seeing which one performs better.

Additionally, you could use A/B testing to test different elements of your website, such as your CTA or your pricing page. By testing different versions, you can find the best combination for your business.

9. Optimize a Mobile-Friendly Site

Now, millions of people use their mobile devices to access the internet. Therefore, if you want to increase conversions, make sure that your website is optimized for mobile.

This means safeguarding that your site is responsive and easy to use on a mobile device. You should also consider using a mobile-specific CTA, such as a click-to-call button.

10. Avoid Slow Load Times

Slow load times can be a major issue when it comes to conversion rates. If your website takes too long to load, people are likely to give up and go elsewhere.

Make your website well-designed and optimized for speed to avoid slow load times. If possible, utilize a content delivery network (CDN) to improve your site’s load time.

11. Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool designed to track your website’s traffic and conversion rates. By setting up Google Analytics, you can see how people find your site and what they’re doing once they get there.

You can use this information to improve your website and increase conversions. If you’re not already using Google Analytics, now is the time to start.

12. Improve Your Content

One of the best methods for attracting customers and conversions is to improve your content. This means creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content that will appeal to your target audience.

To improve your content, start by doing keyword research to find the right keywords to target. Then, create content that is interesting and relevant to your audience. Finally, promote your content through social media and other channels.

13. Use Social Proof

Social proof is an influential tool that can be used to increase conversions. This refers to the idea that people are more likely to do something if they see that others are doing it as well.

You can use social media or good reviews to create a buzz around your product or service.

14. Offer an Incentive

People are more likely to convert if given an incentive. This could be a discount, a free trial, or something of value to your target customer.

Incentives are a great way to increase conversions, and the incentive should be relevant to your product or service. Otherwise, you could end up losing money.

Conclusion

These are just some of the tools and methods you can use to boost your conversion rates. By implementing these strategies, you can generate more revenue for your business while also providing a better experience for your customers.

If you’re unsure where to begin, start small and go down the list as you see results. Remember, your goal is to increase conversions, not just traffic.

 

Why Link Building Still Matters

If you’re running a business, your website needs to be as visible as possible to potential customers. One way to do this is via effective link building. When done correctly, it can help improve your site’s ranking on search engines and ultimately drive more traffic your way.

In this article, we’ll discuss why link building is still an important part of local SEO and some of the best ways to go about it.

Why Is Link Building Important?

There are a number of reasons why link building is still an essential part of SEO, even in 2022.

First and foremost, it’s one of the most effective ways to improve your site’s search engine ranking. In fact, 58% of SEO experts believe that link building significantly impacts search engine ranking.

Building relevant and local links is vital if you’re trying to rank higher in localized searches and certain keywords.

Besides increasing your SEO ranking and driving more traffic to your website, several other benefits come with link building. These include:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Improved relationships with other businesses
  • More opportunities for joint ventures and partnerships
  • The ability to reach new audiences

If you’re not already incorporating link building into your SEO strategy, now is the time to start. It’s an essential part of any successful SEO campaign and can provide many benefits for your business.

Using Local Citations

Another excellent tool for SEO that is like link building is using local citations. But what are they?

Local citations simply mention your business name, address, and phone number on other websites. They help improve your visibility in search engines and lead to more traffic and customers for your business.

A local citation references your business on the internet and your name, address, and phone number. They are also called “mentions” or “listings.”

You can find citations in directories, review sites, social media platforms, apps, maps, etc.

Getting People to Link to Your Business

One common question that businesses have is how to get other people and websites to link to their business. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there are a few methods you can use to increase your chances of getting links.

These include:

  • Creating great content: This is one of the best ways to get people to link to your site. In addition, other businesses and websites will likely link to it if you produce helpful, informative, and engaging content.
  • Reaching out to influencers: This involves contacting people with a large online following and asking them to promote your content or mention your business in one of their posts.
  • Submitting guest posts: Write articles for other blogs in your industry in exchange for a link back to your website.

Local link building should be a key part of any marketing strategy. Since only 6% of website content receives backlinks, you can improve your search engine ranking immensely by getting ahead of your competitors.

Finding Local Backlinks for Link Building

One of the most important things to keep in mind is relevance when it comes to link building. You should focus on getting links from websites relevant to your industry or niche.

For example, if you own a local business, getting links from other local businesses or websites makes sense. The same goes for if you have a blog about a particular subject. For example, if you have a blog about pet care, you would want to get links from other pet-related websites.

Here are a few ideas of where you can find relevant backlinks for your business or website:

  • Local directories: These websites list businesses in specific categories, such as the Yellow Pages or Yelp.
  • Local news websites: If you’ve been featured in a local news article, there’s a good chance they will include a link to your website.
  • Industry-specific websites: These are websites that focus on a specific industry or niche.
  • Relevant resource pages: These pages list helpful resources for people in a specific industry or niche. For example, if you have an article about car care tips, you could get links from resource pages that list the best car care tips.

By keeping relevance in mind, you can make sure you’re getting the most valuable backlinks for your website.

Creating a Link Building Strategy

Now that you know why local link building is important, it’s time to create a strategy. Here are a few tips to help you start link building:

Set goals

First, decide what you want to achieve with your link-building campaign. Do you want to improve your search engine ranking? Increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Once you know your goals, you can create a plan to achieve them.

Research your competition

Look at your competitors and what they’re doing. Are they getting links from local directories? Guest posting on other blogs? By understanding what they’re doing, you can get an idea of what’s working and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Create a list of target websites

Make a list of the websites you want to get links from. As mentioned above, these could be local directories, news websites, industry-specific websites, or relevant resource pages.

After you have a list of target websites, reach out and build relationships. You can do this by guest posting on their blog, sending them an email, or connecting with them on social media.

Using Google Maps and Other Platforms for Link Building

In addition to traditional link-building methods, there are also some platforms you can use to get links. For example, Google Maps is a great way to get links from local businesses.

To get started, search for your business on Google Maps and claim your listing. Once you’ve claimed your business listing, you can add your website to it. This will add a link to your website, which can help improve your search engine ranking and drive traffic to your website.

Another platform you can use for link building is social media. You can use social media to connect with potential customers and promote your business or website. For example, you can post links to your articles on Twitter or Facebook. You can also use social media to connect with other companies and websites in your industry or niche.

The Bottom Line

Even now, link building is still an important part of SEO. By understanding why it’s important and how to get started, you can create a successful link-building campaign for your business or website.

Remember, Google Maps and other platforms can also help you get more links to your website. Don’t forget to take advantage of these platforms as well.

By following these tips, you can make sure your link-building campaign is successful and that your business or website gets the exposure it deserves.

 

How to Deal with Negative Comments on Social Media Like a Pro

Social media has undoubtedly become a powerful communication and marketing tool. Not only does it allow businesses to connect with their customers on a more personal level, but it also gives customers a voice to share their thoughts and experiences about a company or product.

While this two-way communication channel is beneficial for businesses, it can also be challenging. Negative comments are bound to happen, and when they do, you should handle them in a way that won’t damage your brand or reputation.

Let’s discuss how to deal with negative comments on social media like a pro.

Make Sure You Respond

Although dealing with negative comments can be difficult, it’s important to remember that ignoring them is not an option. When customers take the time to reach out to you with a complaint or concern, they expect (and deserve) a response.

Not only will a reply show the customer that you care about their experience, but it also shows others that you’re willing to listen to feedback and address any issues.

Of course, it’s not always possible to respond to every negative comment. But if a comment is public and could potentially damage your reputation, take the time to craft a thoughtful response.

Handle Issues Promptly

In addition to responding to negative comments, quickly take care of the issue that caused the comment in the first place. This may involve refunding their purchase, exchanging an item, or simply apologizing for any inconvenience they may have experienced.

Whatever the matter may be, it’s important to take care of it promptly and efficiently. Customers appreciate it when companies own up to their mistakes and try to correct them.

If you take too long, customers may think you don’t care about their issue or that you’re sweeping it under the rug. Delaying will only damage your reputation further, so it’s crucial to nip the problem in the bud as soon as possible.

Be Professional

Although it may be tempting to lash out, remember that what you say can be used against you. Therefore, always err on the side of caution and keep your responses professional.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t defend yourself or your business – but you should do so in a respectful way that doesn’t make the situation worse.

Try saying things like:

  • “We’re sorry to hear that you had a negative experience. We appreciate your feedback and would like to make this right with you.”
  • “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We take these issues seriously and would like to look into this further. Please DM us your contact information and order number so we can investigate.”

Taking the Conversation Offline

In some cases, it may be best to take the conversation offline. This is usually the case when a customer is angry or upset or if the situation could escalate if only addressed publicly.

When you take the conversation offline, you’ll have a chance to diffuse the situation without worrying about making it worse. You can reply to the comment publicly and let the customer know that you’d like to discuss their concerns further in a private message or over the phone.

This shows that you’re willing to listen and help resolve the issue in a way that is considerate of their privacy.

Address the Issue Directly

When responding to a negative comment, address the issue directly. A straightforward response shows the customer (and anyone else reading) that you take their concerns seriously and are willing to resolve the problem.

For example, if a customer is unhappy with your product, you might say something like:

“Thank you for your feedback. We’re sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with our product. Can you please provide more information about what you didn’t like? We’d like to pass your feedback along to our team and see if there’s anything we can do to improve the product.”

This response shows that you care about the customer’s experience and want to help resolve the issue. It also gives you an opportunity to learn more about what the customer didn’t like so that you can make improvements in the future.

Don’t Be Afraid to Apologize

In some cases, the best way to deal with a negative comment is to simply apologize. An apology shows the customer that you understand their frustration and want to make things right.

Of course, you shouldn’t apologize for something that wasn’t your fault. But if there was a mistake on your part, or if the customer had a valid complaint, an apology would go a long way in diffusing the situation.

Some people just want to feel like they’re heard and that their concerns are taken seriously. In these cases, a simple apology may be enough to resolve the issue.

Use Positive Language

It’s essential to use positive language when responding to negative comments. However, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore the problem or act like everything is fine. Instead, focus on finding a resolution rather than dwelling on the negative.

For example, instead of saying, “We’re sorry that you had a bad experience,” you could say, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We want to do everything we can to ensure your next experience is better.”

This response shows that you’re committed to resolving the issue while also setting a positive tone for the rest of the conversation.

Don’t Scrub Your Social Media Page of Negative Comments

While it’s tempting to delete negative comments or hide them from your feed, this is usually a bad idea. Not only does it make you look deceitful, but it also makes it seem like you don’t care about your customers’ concerns.

It’s okay to delete comments that are abusive or that don’t add anything to the conversation. But in most cases, it’s best to leave the comment up and respond directly. These comments show that you’re willing to listen to feedback, even if it’s negative.

Use Negative Comments to Improve Your Business

Finally, it’s important to remember that negative comments can actually be a good thing. They provide you with an opportunity to improve your products or services and show your customers that you care about their experience.

As a business owner, you should always look for ways to improve. So, if you’re getting a lot of negative feedback about a certain aspect of your business, use it as a chance to make positive changes.

So next time you get a negative comment on social media, don’t panic. Instead, just follow these tips, and you’ll be able to handle it like a pro.

 

Why Is Video Marketing So Important For Small Businesses?

Today, operating a small business means competing against other businesses potentially with more resources. To get ahead of the competition, you need to be intelligent with how you market your business. What are the best ways to market your business? Among the most effective tools you could utilize today includes video marketing. In terms of dollar-for-dollar returns on investment, video marketing might be the highest-ranking marketing format out there!

With video, you can add a more human touch to your marketing. You can speak to people in a way and a tone that feels in step with your business. You can win people over with informative, creative content that ignites their interest. But of all the forms of marketing out there today, why should you focus on video marketing for small businesses?

Because it works.

Prior to the smartphone, producing and distributing video was prohibitively expensive. The majority of small businesses could not afford video marketing. Major brands dominated video because they had the resources to create professional videos and air them during commercial breaks on television.

The smartphone changed the rules of the game in multiple ways. And, for once, it stacked the deck in favor of small businesses rather than large corporations. Nowhere is this more apparent than in video.

A small business owner can now create and publish a video in seconds, reaching hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people.

In this article, we'll look at why video is so effective for small businesses and how your company can get started with video marketing in small steps.

Is Video Important to Your Customers?

While video marketing can be low-effort, it is far from effortless. And, let's face it, as a small business owner, you already have a lot on your plate.

Why should you devote time and money to video marketing? The answer is simple: because video attracts more customers.

So, whether you own a jewelry store, a catering company, or a dentist who promotes healthy teeth and gums, video should be a part of your marketing strategy!

What makes video so powerful?

Video clearly works, but why? Much of it is due to the way our brains are wired.

Other mediums simply cannot elicit an emotional response like video, and studies show that up to 95 percent of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously on an emotional level.

Reason1: Images are processed faster than words.

The fact that our brains can process images much faster than words is one clear reason why video works better than other forms of communication. MIT researchers discovered that the human brain can process an image in as little as 13 milliseconds.

Not only that, but our brains can process images concurrently, whereas words are processed in a linear manner. Why is that important?

Because if information is easier to process, it is also easier to remember.

According to studies, we retain 95 percent of information from video versus only 10% from text. And what is the point of advertising if people don't remember it?

Reason 2: Seeing other people's faces elicits empathy.

It all boils down to how we are wired. Mirror neurons are found in our brains. When we observe the facial expressions of others, these neurons fire, causing us to empathize with them.

We essentially put ourselves in their shoes.

And, while we're on the subject of shoes, do you see why Nike commercials are so effective? Because they so artfully portray people and acts of greatness, you can literally feel greatness for a few brief seconds.

How Can You Get Your Videos in Front of Potential Customers for Your Small Business?

Before we dive in to this question, let's be clear: videos don't have to be professionally produced and edited. This article isn't about making a TV commercial. We're talking about creating and distributing videos in areas where your customers are likely to be found. Unlike in the days of TV dinners, consumers are unlikely to be glued to the television screen during commercial breaks.

Know Who Your Customers Are

You should have already created a customer avatar and know who your customer is. Understanding your customer is the first step toward determining where they spend their time.

A CPA offering tax services to wealthy individuals, for example, has a very different audience than someone selling beauty products directly to consumers.

Where they are is determined by who they are.

You can begin to understand where your customers spend their time online once you know who they are.

Which small business owner in the preceding example is better served by creating a weekly insights & advice video series and promoting it on LinkedIn?

And which owner should be uploading quick video testimonials from satisfied customers and product reviews to Facebook and TikTok?

Keep in mind that video is a type of content marketing that is intended to attract and retain an audience. That way, when the time comes to buy, you'll be top of mind.

That will not happen unless you get your video in front of the right people.

So, where are your customers nowadays?

While there are well over a billion websites online these days, the majority of people's online time is spent in one or more of the following places:

All of these channels allow you to reach a large number of people with whatever videos you want to make. There are numerous resources available to assist you in understanding how to optimize your video strategy to reach more of your target audience on each of these platforms. Make certain you understand the best practices for the platform(s) you select.

What Kinds of Videos Can Your Small Business Make to Generate More Customers?

You now understand why videos are effective. You did your research to find out where your customers spend their time. You've even researched the best ways to get your videos in front of them. You must now decide what type(s) of videos you want to create.

Here are four of the most effective low-cost/low-effort videos you can make:

Video Demo/Explainer

If your small business sells products, make short demo videos that show how those products solve problems. Video is an excellent way to demonstrate how those products work so that customers can see them in action.

Video Testimonial

Remember how we said potential customers should put themselves in the shoes of the person in the video they're watching? What better way to sell your products or services than to put potential customers in the shoes of one of your satisfied customers?

When you're with a satisfied customer, pull out your phone and ask a few simple questions about their experience with your company.

Info Style Videos 

These are ideal if your small business provides a service of some kind. You obviously have a wealth of knowledge that people pay you for as a service professional. Offering some of that knowledge in the form of a video not only helps people understand their situation, but it also shows that you know your stuff.

When the time comes to hire a professional, you will have already established a level of trust with the potential customer, increasing the likelihood that they will come to you for assistance.

Video of the Company's History

People buy from people, especially when it comes to small businesses. You are not a large, stale corporation. You're a small business with a one-of-a-kind story to tell. Use video to inform customers…

• Your identity

• Why are you so enthusiastic about your company?

• What they can anticipate from you

Allow them to see and feel how much you enjoy what you do. There is simply no better way to accomplish this than through video!

Now it's time to get recording.

So, what are you holding out for? While diving into video can be intimidating, there is no better time to start than now. Video is preferred by your customers over other mediums. And you can gain a significant advantage over your competitors by creating the type of content they desire! So pull out your iPhone, press record, and begin having more meaningful interactions with your potential customers.

 

Local SEO Tweaks That Can Boost Your Rankings

When it comes to running a business in your local area, search engine optimization (SEO) is essential.  If you aren’t sitting pretty in the top rankings on page one, it makes potential customers wonder one thing – how good are you REALLY?

With that in mind, if your business doesn’t have the search engine rankings you need, you might want to consider using some of these local SEO tweaks to give your rankings a boost.

Local SEO tweaks to your advantage today

Creating more internal website links

The first place we recommend you start for improved local SEO is more internal links. Internal links are links that take the user from one page of your website to the next. So, if you own a website where you provide various handyman services, such as drywall installation, tile laying plastering and painting, or you would find ways to link to each of your services across various pages.

Example: Applying plaster takes patience and experience.  If you rush the process, you will likely end up with sub-par results.  So if you don’t have the extra time needed then Painting the area will be your best option.

 

Internal links should be built around relevant keywords used across your website. It is a great way to ensure traffic is more evenly distributed across each page, improving your overall traffic level.

Answer the common questions found on Google

Another key to local SEO is to make sure you have the answers to the common questions locals have. If you do a search for the product/service(s) your business offers, you will most likely find a list of commonly asked questions on Google. These questions are a great place to start to ensure you have answers to these common questions on your website.

There’s 2 ways you can accomplish this.

  1. By creating an FAQ page that lists all these commonly asked questions in one place, with your answers to each question below but the best way to handle this is to…
  2. Create a blog around these questions.  For example, if you run a car detailing service, and one of your most frequently asked might be…. “Is it better to clean with steam or soap & water?”  So now you have an opportunity to go into more detail about why it’s better to clean with steam VS soap and water and all the benefits your car will receive because of it.

Create local directory listings 

From Google My Business to business directories in your local region, you should be creating as many of these little profiles as you can.  Also referred to as citations. Yelp.com, YellowPages.com, BBB.org, Manta.com, Angi.com, are all examples of business directories also called citations.  Each one creates another link back to your website.  Which is exactly what you want – Useful external links coming from relevant sources.

At the same time, though, these websites provide you a directory listing that helps people to find your business. So not only can you get an SEO benefit, you will also get traffic coming directly from these sites.

Local directories are useful, but make sure you’ve got a Google My Business page. It’s the “Grand Pumba” of all citations. Technically it’s now referred to as your Google Business Profile, but it is the same thing – and it is free to create, so why not benefit from the potential it provides?

Turn your current content into new opportunities.

If one of your main problems is coming up with new content and ideas all the time, that’s totally relatable.  One great way to get the most out of your content is to repurpose what you already have. By taking a blog post and turning it into social media snippets, or an explainer video, you can stretch the content you already have and maximize its impact.

Do not ignore your user experience (UX) rating

In 2021, Google released a new search engine update that focuses on the quality of the user experience. Specifically, how fast is your website loading? How stable is your website – does it crash often? And how responsive is your website? Does it work well on all devices and browsers?

Working with your web developer to improve these elements of your layout, design, and back-end should be a priority. Google and other search engines will value your website higher if it meets its higher UX rating. Make this a local SEO priority!

Make the most of Google Discover

One of the best local SEO tweaks we can suggest you try out would be to use Google Discover. This is an AI-managed news aggregator that is created by Google. Essentially, it looks to pair people up with content and platforms the AI feels are relevant based on their previous activities.

Getting people to like your content on social media and on your website – such as leaving comments, sharing links, etc. – can ensure you are more likely to appear in this powerful news aggregator. You’ll need to create high-quality content that encourages engagement, this is a high bar to reach for.

Take your old content and improve it

As time goes on, it is inevitable that new information is discovered and your expertise in your business niche will grow. Is it time to go back to your older content and refresh it?  Are there new details you could add now that were not available back when you first wrote that content?

Going back and updating old content is a great way to refresh the traffic volume and squeeze more juice out of what you have already done.

Okay listen, it’s a busy world. If you don't have time to implement all of the SEO tips listed above, that's fine. Start with one or two that seem to be the easiest and begin there. Businesses who succeed at SEO are the ones who take action, so anything is better than nothing.  Once you see your rankings increase you’ll know it’s worth the effort!

 

The Daily Checklist for Social Media Success!

Maintaining your social media presence is essential in today’s online world. It can be a time-consuming task, but it’s worth it to build trust with consumers and create a consistent brand image.

Whether you’re a business owner starting out on social media or have been at it for a while and aren’t seeing the results you want, this daily checklist will help.

By following this social media cheat sheet, you’ll monitor your accounts effectively and become an asset to your customers.

Let’s get started.

Why Is Social Media Management Important?

With over 4.26 billion people on social media, it’s more important than ever to have a presence on various media platforms.

As a business owner, understanding how your brand is perceived online and what is said about it is essential. Your social media accounts represent your company’s values, so be consistent with the message you’re putting out there.

Consistency helps maintain the brand and builds trust with consumers. However, it’s also essential to have a strategy in place and understand your company and your target audience well. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to create content that resonates with your target audience.

If you don’t have a social media presence, you’re missing out on an opportunity to market your business for free. And if you’re not consistently active on social media, you’re not building trust with potential customers.

The Basics of Social Media Management

Before we get into the daily checklist, let’s go over the basics of social media management.

First, you need to understand what social media platforms your target audience is using. Then, you need to create profiles on those platforms and complete your profile information.

Once your profiles are set up, it’s time to start posting content. When starting out, it’s important to post regularly so your audience knows you’re active and engaged. Then, as you grow your social media following, you can experiment with the frequency of your posts.

Remember, quality is better than quantity when it comes to social media. Posting one high-quality piece of content is better than several low-quality pieces.

Your audience will also engage more with interesting, informative, or entertaining content. So, ensure you’re creating appropriate content for your target audience that will resonate with them.

Lastly, you need to supervise your social media accounts. This means keeping an eye on your activity and engagement levels, as well as any negative feedback.

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s get into the daily checklist.

Daily Checklist

This social media checklist will help you focus on the most important tasks related to social media management. By following this guide, you’ll be sure to stay on top of your social media presence and build trust with your audience.

Here’s what you should do every day:

1. Review Your Analytics

The first thing you should do is review your social media analytics. This will provide you with a good overview of how your accounts are performing and where you can improve.

You should look at your overall engagement levels and the engagement levels for each post. This will help you identify which types of content have an impact on your audience and which ones don’t.

Lastly, look at your followership to get an idea of how well your social media marketing efforts are working. If you’re not seeing much growth, it may be time to adjust your strategy.

2. Share Engaging Content

Once you’ve reviewed your analytics, it’s time to start sharing content. Remember to mix up the content you share so your audience doesn’t get bored. Try to share a mix of text, images, videos, and infographics. And be sure to post both original and curated content.

Curation is important because it shows that you’re not just self-promoting all the time. It also helps you fill up your social media calendars if you’re struggling to come up with original content.

Just remember to provide credit to the original source when you share someone else’s content.

When you’re sharing content, be sure to use hashtags, @mentions, and geotags. This will help you reach a broader target audience and get more engagement.

If you don’t have time to post daily, you can schedule your content using a tool like Hootsuite. This will help you prepare your posts in advance so that you don’t have to worry about them every day.

You can also share user-generated content or repurpose content from other platforms. Just make sure the content you’re sharing is still relevant and engaging.

3. Respond to Comments and Messages

Another important task to do every day is to respond to comments and messages. This includes both positive and negative feedback.

Responding to positive comments is important and lets your audience know you appreciate their feedback. You should also reply to negative comments in a timely and professional manner. This will show your audience you’re committed to providing excellent customer service.

Use your responses as an opportunity to build relationships with your audience. Be friendly and helpful, and you’ll be sure to win over some fans.

And don’t forget to thank your fans and followers for their support! A simple “thank you” can go a long way.

4. Develop Relationships with Influencers

Finally, you should spend some time every day developing relationships with influencers. You can do this by commenting and liking their posts, sharing their content, and tagging them in your posts.

Try reaching out to influencers directly and introducing yourself. If they’re interested in what you have to say, they may be willing to collaborate with you on a future project.

Influencer marketing is an excellent way to reach a wider audience and get more engagement. And it can also help you build trust with your customers while diversifying your content.

The Bottom Line

By following this daily checklist, you’ll be sure to stay on top of your social media presence and build trust with your audience. Just remember to be consistent, engage with your followers, and monitor your analytics to see what’s working.

If you need help or are uncertain about how to do something, check out our other articles. In addition, we’ve got a ton of great resources to help you with your social media marketing.

 

How to turn Instagram followers into customers!

In the past few years, Instagram has developed into a juggernaut of a marketing platform.

Everyone is on Instagram, from small businesses to conglomerates, and they all are racing to increase their followers, likes, and comments metrics!

According to Facebook statistics, 500 million users log on to Instagram every day and spend an average of 30 minutes on the platform.

Right now there’s a huge opportunity for those who take action.

If you are a business owner with an Instagram page, but somehow struggle to find leads, conversions, and grow on the platform, you’ve made it to the right place.

In this article is going to show you the best methods of conversion and the biggest mistakes you need to watch out for when promoting your business on Instagram.

To start off let’s look at what you NEED to be doing to kickstart the process:

The DO’s of Instagram Conversion

  1. Be active in the community

The key here is to go from building an audience to creating a community of engagers. Remember, Instagram is more than a one-way platform. While audiences want to enjoy your content, what they really need is to be a part of it. Don’t forget that you’re behind the screen and you have the power to control their actions and influence the steps they take on their journey.

To create an active community on Instagram, remember to:

  • Reply to comments
  • Reply to DMs
  • Host giveaways and competitions
  • Encourage follower engagement in your content with call-to-actions and questions
  • Start conversations
  • Post on national days
  1. Switch it up.

Consistency is important, especially if you’re a smaller business looking to gain traction and successfully convert your audience into customers. However, sticking to the same content over and over is going to leave your follower’s losing interest. Nobody wants to scroll past 100 images that add nothing to their life. Instead, audiences want familiarity AND uniqueness. It sounds like a tricky combination to pull off, but it IS possible.

To ensure you’re sticking to a regular positing schedule whilst remembering to switch up you need to:

  • Experiment with different formats: Post stories, reels and both short/long form videos to vary the kind of content you give to your followers. This could even mean going live for your followers (building that active community at the same time). To start off, add in some carousels to your content as this is super simple!
  • Vary the content you use in your posts: Filmed a great ad for your business? Show off behind the scenes. Get creative with emojis and stickers and add new people to the mix. As a local business, reinforcing the idea of community is important, so don’t be afraid to involve others in your content.
  1. Become MORE than just your content

For a local business like yours, a large number of your followers might be those who live within your area or even come into your physical store if you have one. This makes showing who you are behind the brand even more important.

Don’t be afraid to show the real you and connect with the local audiences you have around you.

Get vulnerable and open up. Consumers love reality and you’ll find, we as a society are VERY nosey, so finding out more about the owners or team behind a brand is crucial if you want to maintain audience attention and start building a relationship with them.

To successfully be you, try this:

  • Incorporate pictures of a day at work into your content with the team involved
  • Reply to comments with the name of the team member who replied at the end of it help create that community
  • Use stories to document genuine business life

These 3 tips are sure to take your business from followers on Instagram to traffic on your website.

By keeping it real, switching it up and getting active online, conversion is guaranteed.

Now, it’s time to take a look at the mistakes you don’t want to be falling into:

The DON’T’S of Instagram Conversion

  1. Avoid over-selling

The most crucial part of transforming followers into customers is by making the transition feel seamless for them. Your audience does not want to be bombarded by boring sales pitches, they want value and relatability. And as a local business, this means incorporating ‘filler posts’ your community can engage with OUTSIDE of the sphere of sales, such as:

Weekend/Weekday posts: Use these as a check in with your audience to see how they are and/or update them on what’s going on for the business that day.

Quotes or sayings: You can’t go wrong with a bit of motivation every now and then to help push through the day!

Tips, secrets or how to’s: Always think about adding value. Help your audience learn more and positively change their life.

Doing more than just pushing sales will help you convert without it feeling like your customers have to do any challenging work or be convinced to take action.

2. Posting inconsistent content

While it’s important to switch up the format of your content, don’t end up losing your brand image in the midst of it. Sticking to a general theme, tone and voice is important for your followers to get to know your business more and want to become a follower.

So,

  • Make sure your posts flow well and represents your vision.
  • Stick to brand colors
  • Stick to ONE tone of voice for cohesive purposes

3.Not engaging with your followers

For audiences of businesses, Instagram isn’t just a window shop. It’s a place to interact, learn, chat and so much more. So, why limit yourself by not returning the favour? If you’re a small local business, building a positive reputation and good rapport with your followers will lead to more people visiting your page.

Consumers eat with their eyes and love a place where they feel valued, appreciated, and can get something out of it. So, ENGAGE! Get stuck into the community you’ve created and interact with your followers.

Conclusion

If you're a local business trying to convert your followers into customers, don't sweat it, you've got this!

Creating great content is all about the strategies you use to improve the customer experience even more, and by monitoring your analytics and clarifying your objectives on a daily basis, incorporating these tips into your marketing will be easier than ever!