Category Archives for "Local Marketing"

Marketing Tips for Those with No Time to Market

It’s impossible for a business to be successful without marketing, but sadly, budding entrepreneurs don’t always have time to promote their company. After all, building a successful business rarely leaves time for posting regularly to social media.

Fortunately, there are a variety of marketing tips that business owners with no time can utilize.

Get Customers to Market for You

You might not have time to get online and promote your business, but your customers likely do. You can offer incentives to your patrons – such as discounts or free items – for leaving honest reviews about your company on sites like Yelp and Google.

And since over 80 percent of people say honest reviews are the most credible form of advertising, you can rest assured that future clients will take these testimonials into consideration.

Bring in the Professionals

Potentially the best way to market when you don’t have time is to hire someone to handle the promotion of your company. Many local business owners feel they can handle marketing on their own, but in all honesty, this is like someone trying to perform surgery without medical training.

Marketing isn’t something that just anyone can do. If it was, everyone would do it. Hiring a professional to handle your advertising will certainly pay for itself in the long run.

Market at Events

If you don’t have time to market, you certainly don’t have time to advertise at events for free. If you sign up for a booth at an event, though, you can sell your product or service while simultaneously marketing them.

Hand out business cards, hold contests and provide samples at these events. You’ll still be making money while simultaneously getting the word out about your company.

Marketing is no doubt a time-consuming commitment, but it’s an important one if you hope to find success. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between doing your job and promoting your business. The aforementioned tips will go a long way in ensuring this.

3 Mistakes You Must Always Avoid with Referral Marketing

The most trusted form of advertising in the world – with over 80 percent of consumers ranking it at the top – is word of mouth. Unlike social media, email and other forms of marketing, though, these referrals are contingent on people being motivated to make them.

Luckily, there are ways to influence this type of behavior, but if you’re making the following customer referral mistakes, you’re hurting your business.

1. Not Offering Incentives

Word of mouth has long been a trusted form of marketing, but in many cases, people aren’t going to do it just out of the goodness of their hearts. Oftentimes, in fact, they never even give positive retail experiences a second thought.

This completely changes, though, if they’re incentivized to refer family and friends to a certain company. This could be a discount, free product or gift card for every person they refer to the business.

2. Not Utilizing Social Media

The term “word of mouth” seems to dictate one-on-one interactions in real-life situations. In the modern world, however, it’s simple for local businesses to progress their word of mouth via social media.

This could be anything from asking followers to tag a friend who would “Love this meal” or “Needs this car” to offering incentives for honest online reviews. The internet is a huge part of our daily lives, and you should remember that when trying to get potential customers sent your way.

3. Not Going the Extra Mile

Whether an individual was seeking recommendations or just given one out of the blue by a friend, it typically makes them feel special. It’s as if they’re in on a secret because they “know somebody who knows somebody.” Business owners need to keep this feeling alive.

It’s essential to go above and beyond for customers who have been referred. This will let them know that the recommendation was given in earnest, and they’ll be much more likely to return later.

Of course, the biggest word of mouth and referral marketing mistake is not having a strategy at all. Once you’re over that mountain, though, avoiding the aforementioned can go a long way in making you successful.

What Hulu Can Teach Local Businesses About Marketing

As of May 2016, the streaming service Hulu had surpassed 12 million subscribers. In marketing terms, this means they’re definitely doing something right.

Of course, it may seem difficult to apply streaming marketing to other industries, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t a variety of marketing lessons to learn from Hulu. Here are three of the most important.

Video is Imperative

Considering it’s a streaming service, a video is obviously immensely important to Hulu. Video being the service they provide, however, isn’t the only reason it’s imperative. They also heavily use video marketing to promote their service. This was especially the case prior to the release of Hulu Plus.

Hulu is consistently putting out promotional content via video. They keep their ads short and sweet, and they also use real people as opposed to actors. Implementing a few of these tips while keeping the ads informative can go a long way.

Engage in Original Content Marketing

While posting an interesting meme or article found through a Google search may increase social visibility a bit, it’s original content that really gets noticed. Hulu proved this by creating 11.22.63, The Handmaid’s Tale and Difficult People.

Local business marketers must recognize the importance of original content and create their own blogs, videos, and articles.

Don’t Be Afraid to Drop Dead Weight

Hulu isn’t afraid to let streaming contracts expire when a certain show isn’t doing well on their platform. Local businesses should take this route when marketing as well.

Regardless of how much has been invested in a certain promotional endeavor, there’s no excuse to keep using a failing tactic. Either update it to work or switch strategies entirely.

Even with Netflix being the industry powerhouse, Hulu has still managed to draw subscribers and stand on its own. For local businesses that can utilize the company’s skills in their own marketing endeavors, the sky is the limit.

3 Tips for Successful Marketing at Trade Shows

Trade shows present a great chance for networking, but at their core, these gatherings are meant for businesses to market their products or services. In fact, trade shows generated a full $12.6 billion in revenue during 2015 alone.

This statistic proves that trade show marketing is valuable, but this is only the case if local business owners are using the right strategies – such as the following.

1. Promote Ahead of Time Via Social Media

One tried-and-true method of getting attention at a trade show is by marketing the event ahead of time. Use social media to let clients know the event is coming up. It’s smart to provide great reasons – and even incentives – for why a person should show up and come to the booth. It’s even smart to start a hashtag prior to the event and then utilize it on the day of.

2. Use Guerrilla Marketing Tactics

In a perfect world, every trade show attendee would be attracted to a booth based solely on the quality of the product or service being offered. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world, but guerrilla marketing tactics can make up for this.

One great trade show guerrilla marketing tactic is holding a raffle or contest. Others might incentivize potential clients to tweet something about the booth. Still others simply provide a cell phone charging station to ensure people show up. Guerrilla marketing works if a business owner can figure out which tactic works best for them.

3. Utilize Employee “Plants”

When trade show attendees see a crowd gathered around a booth, their inclination is that something special is going on. It’s simply human nature. This is why business owners should have a few employees come to the show dressed in normal clothes. These workers should gather around the booth and act interested. This will attract others who may actually show real interest.

Trade shows are a powerful marketing tool, and business owners should prepare for them months in advance. This preparation along with the right promotional tactics can go a long way in securing part of the aforementioned $12.6 billion in yearly revenue.

3 Customer Loyalty Plans that Actually Work

Customer loyalty is a tricky thing to come by. In fact, one study showed that nearly 80 percent of consumers would jump ship within a week of a single negative customer service experience. This obviously makes customer service important, but gaining loyalty requires much more.

Man showing presentation Loyalty Plan

Fortunately, business owners can use the following customer loyalty tips to hang onto their best clients.

1. Create a Customer Loyalty Program

One of the quickest and most utilized methods of garnering customer loyalty is through a simple loyalty program. These once were nothing more than “We’ll punch your card for each purchase, and on the 10th purchase, you get something free.” They’ve evolved greatly since that point.

Now local business owners can get clients to sign up for loyalty programs through their email, apps and a variety of other methods. Come up with a way to incentivize customers to be loyal, and they’ll remain loyal.

2. Strive to Fix Every Perceived Misstep

While touching base with every upset customer may seem like a tedious task, it’s important to remember that many national franchises do just that through their social media channels. Whether someone takes to Yelp, Facebook or calls in with a complaint, budding entrepreneurs should do everything in their power to make things right.

If customers know a manager will go the extra mile to keep their business, they’ll understand how important they really are.

3. Get Personal

Consumers don’t want to feel like just another cog in the machine. They want to feel that a company looks at them like real people – not just profits.

When someone takes the time to comment on Facebook, have a marketing manager reply. If someone leaves a positive review online, the business owner should take the time to reply. Get personal with clients, and they’ll feel like they’ve found a home.

Fostering customer loyalty is never going to be an easy job, but it’s certainly one worth engaging in. The best marketing tactics in the world mean nothing without customer loyalty, so it’s something that every business owner should focus on.

How Local Businesses Can Market at Community Events

People fall in love with companies for many reasons, but more and more, consumers are gravitating towards businesses that get involved in the community.

Over half of people worldwide, for instance, say they will pay more if a company does socially responsible things like getting involved in the community. This creates a unique promotional opportunity, and businesses that use these community marketing events will see benefits.

Sponsor Something Locally

Sending a check to charity is a great thing, and if the organization publicizes the gift, it’s even better. To ensure a bit of exposure, though, many local business owners simply sponsor community events or booths that are present. This can be anything from buying ad space in the outfield of the high school baseball field or renting an event booth for a local cancer treatment organization.

Pull an “Inception” Event

Anyone who has seen the movie “Inception” remembers the basic premise of “a dream within a dream.” Local business owners can take a tip here and host an event within an event. After purchasing space at a local festival, for instance, they could hold a contest, instructional class or even a dance off – if it’s somehow relatable. These mini events easily catch people’s attention.

Do Some Homework

Many community events, ranging from concerts to festivals, attract a certain demographic of people. A rock music festival, for instance, might bring in people in their 20s and 30s. An international food festival, on the other hand, could attract families. Business owners need to know who their audience is at these events and prepare to market in a way that appeals to them.

Marketing a local business is a tough job, and that’s why it’s so important to do it right. Not everything is online, and if budding entrepreneurs can perfect their marketing skills at local events, they’re very likely to see a boost in sales.

Why Business Cards Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool

Whether it’s social media or a website, most local businesses have a variety of digital marketing tools at their disposal. Of course, this doesn’t mean that offline measures aren’t still effective.

The good, old-fashioned business card, for example, is still an effective marketing tool. It’s not just a method of keeping in contact with other professionals, and the following benefits prove it.

Creates Legitimacy

The biggest benefit of having a business card to hand out is the legitimacy it lends to a company. An entrepreneur without a business card is like a company without a website. It’s just not normal, and people will view it as unprofessional. Becoming an industry thought leader is essential, and creating legitimacy is the first step in the process.

Statistics Do Not Lie

When people discuss marketing statistics, it’s typical to explain how effective something like videos or email newsletters can be. When one delves into the statistics related to business cards, however, it becomes clear these miniature billboards are effective.

Current data shows that a company experiences a 2.5 percent increase in sales for every 2,000 business cards handed out. This may not seem like much, but one only needs to look at the math to understand how big this is.

Business owners who print their own cards spent about $0.05 per card. This ends up costing $100 for 2,000 cards. Even if a business only brings in $50,000 in a year, a 2.5 percent increase is $1,250.

Helps with Networking

Some local business owners think they’re going to set out and succeed with only their hard work and investors. In reality, success usually requires relationships with both those inside and outside of an industry.

Setting up mutually beneficial marketing relationships and exchanging information on suppliers are just some of the benefits of strong networking. When meeting other professionals that can potentially help a business flourish, a business card gives off a strong first impression and ensures an entrepreneur’s contact information isn’t forgotten.

While the entire world may seem digital, it’s still important for local business owners to work within the offline world. Having a professional looking business card is one of the best ways to accomplish this.

3 Awesome Benefits of Local Marketing

Local business owners are in a constant struggle to engage in effective marketing while still outshining their competition. As it turns out, there are a few ways to accomplish both tasks through one strategy, and local marketing is one of them.

There are a variety of local marketing benefits out there, but budding entrepreneurs may not have known about the following.

Ability to Combine Online with Offline Marketing

Some of the best marketing tactics business owners utilize are offline, but with the quick growth of the digital age, many have begun to slack off on this form of promotion. With simple offline local marketing tactics, though, they can bring in new customers and even integrate online strategies.

Just look at business cards, direct mail or even trade shows. Trade shows allow for a great chance to network, and handing out cards at these events can result in future business. Additionally, adding a company’s website to the card will bring in new traffic.

Direct mail can do the same, and since nearly 40 percent of consumers try a company for the first time thanks to a direct mailer, it’s definitely an overlooked tool.

Ability to Integrate Social Media

Social media is certainly a powerful marketing platform, but many business owners fail to utilize it in a local marketing capacity.

In its most basic form, local marketing can be accomplished by linking review site pages to social media platforms. To get an extra boost, though, it’s a great idea to share positive online reviews directly to social pages.

Large Swaths of Competition Oblivious

Unless a competitor has hired a marketing manager, it’s likely they don’t fully understand how to market on a local scale. Local marketing includes everything from soliciting reviews to hyperlocal focus, and those outside of the marketing realm don’t often comprehend these. This means that any business who effectively uses local marketing will be far ahead of their competitors.

Local marketing is an essential aspect of any promotional plan, and there are tons of benefits to prove it. This is why every business owner should take the time to focus on this necessary strategy.

Best of Both Worlds: Combining Online and Offline Marketing

If you are successfully marketing your business, you are undoubtedly doing online promotion. After all, 81 percent of shoppers go online for research prior to making any large purchase.

Do not think that this means offline marketing is less important, though, because if you can combine online with offline, you can see huge gains in your local marketing strategy.

Market Offline Events on the Internet

Hosting an event at your business is a creative way to attract new customers. You can do everything from offering a free class to hosting local professionals for a networking event, and in the end, your company's name recognition will benefit.

When hosting these events, though, you should make sure to focus more on just printing flyers, posting on bulletin boards or buying space in the local newspaper. In addition to these, head to Facebook and create an “Event Page,” post about it on your social media, use blogs to keep fans up to date and promote an ad for the event if attendance is looking weak.

Put Offline Customer Interactions on the Web

Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful marketing tool, but why should you wait for happy customers to spread the word? Instead, post an online video of a client interacting your top seller.

While the camera is handy, interview a happy customer about why they love the business or post a Facebook photo of them actually frequenting it. Whether online or off, happy customers offer great marketing potential.

Utilize Offline Calls to Action to Attract Online Followers

You have seen plenty of calls to action on blogs and marketing videos. As it turns out, though, these calls attract customers both on and offline. Whatever your offline marketing strategy entails, be it billboards or television commercials, invite people to visit your website or social media. You will need to provide an incentive for them to do so, but you will earn customers from this tactic.

More than one marketing strategy is necessary for success. This means you should utilize both online and offline marketing to reach your goals.

3 Facebook Contest Mistakes Local Businesses Must Avoid

Organizations will obviously get lots of engagement if they offer a free Xbox or iPad for a contest. As it so happens, though, this engagement might do you no good. It may seem counterproductive, but these prizes will attract multitudes of people who may have no real interest in your product whatsoever. Instead, give away a gift card to your store or at least something related.

We list some of the things you should avoid if you're planning to run a Facebook contest. Check it out below.

Offering an Unrelated Prize

Holding a contest where the reward is a weekend getaway, free airline flight or brand new iPad will clearly get plenty of engagement. Unfortunately, much of it will not be the engagement you want.

This is because these prizes will attract anyone instead of just those who may possibly purchase your product. Offer gift certificates for your shop or something equally related as a prize instead.

Furnishing Ambiguous Rules

When holding a Facebook contest, you must be sure that all rules are clearly defined. This means entirely explaining method of entry, the prize, winner selection criteria and how long the contest will run.

If your method of entry is something such as "Like this status and share" remember that Facebook has rules against these types of contests. Local companies don't typically have much to worry about, but to be on the safe side, many still use third-party apps. Regardless of how you run the contest, make sure you are absolutely clear on the rules.

Failing to Promote Facebook Contest

No one likes to overwhelm their fans with multiple posts about the same thing. This normal rule, though, doesn't apply when it comes to contests. It is not enough to make a solitary post and then forget about the contest until it is over. Share the status at least one time a day, but make sure you are providing other useful content on the site as well.

Successful Facebook contests can quickly get a business hundreds or even thousands of new followers. This is only, of course, if it is done correctly. Keep the aforementioned issues in mind when running your contest, and try not to fall into their traps.

Have you done a Facebook contest before? Share your experience in the comment box below.