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Content Marketing Trends that will Make 2018 Great

While it might seem a little early to start looking for content marketing trends for 2018, there are certainly current trends that will affect how this form of promotion evolves next year. In fact, many of the advancements that occurred in content marketing in 2017 will likely continue strong throughout all of the upcoming year.

Unfortunately, only 22 percent of marketers consider themselves very successful at content marketing, but the following trends could help change that.

Using Social Influencers

Corporations have been using social influencers since the dawn of marketing, but it’s not necessary to have a commercial with Brad Pitt to use influencer marketing.

Local businesses have realized this, and it’s led them to reach out to community celebrities and even infrequently spend a few dollars on being promoted on a large social media page. Now that influencer marketing is more affordable and widely known, 2018 will likely keep the method going strong.

Live Video Remains Content Gold

Facebook Live has been fully rolled out for just over a year, but it’s already making waves. Unfortunately, the company realized that their release was a bit premature, so they’ve spent most of 2017 working to perfect the product.

This means that, by 2018, Facebook Live will be improved and ready to help marketers produce the live and interactive content that consumers are demanding.

Email Marketing Becomes More Important

Social media marketing is certainly essential, but with these platforms focusing more on profit that user friendliness, it’s become harder for companies to reach their target audiences. Of course, they can pay to do this (which is a good idea), but email marketing still offers a great method of pushing content. And since 75 percent of marketers say they get a good ROI from email, it’s certainly worth focusing on.

Content marketing in 2018 will see huge changes and evolution. To be ready for that, though, it’s essential to understand the trends of 2017. Only this can properly prepare an entrepreneur for what’s to come.

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.

3 Offline Marketing Mistakes Local Businesses Keep Making

While online marketing is obviously very important, it doesn’t mean that local business owners should ignore offline strategies.

Even in the newspaper business – a dying industry – three-fourths of advertising revenue comes from offline ads. This proves that entrepreneurs can’t solely focus on digital. If they’re making the following offline marketing mistakes, though, it can be just as bad as having no offline strategy at all.

Not Integrating Online and Offline Marketing

Offline marketing certainly has its own individual benefits, but businesses that fail to integrate online and offline marketing are making a mistake. Ways to do this could include putting up hashtag or QR code signs at marketing events, offering incentives for people to “check in” at a location via social media or create some form of offline teaser advertising that drives people to a website. Whatever the specific course, integration is integral.

Not Utilizing the Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages has rebranded itself as “YP,” and business owners should certainly have a presence on that site. As it turns out, though, print ads in the phone book are still very useful. A full 40 percent of Americans use a phone book yearly. While business owners in rural areas see a better return on investment, 13 percent of New Yorkers still consult the phone book weekly. Business owners should give some serious thought to this offline marketing tactic.

Overlooking Direct Mail

Direct mail is another offline marketing strategy that many local business owners have overlooked lately. Again, this isn’t always a good tactic. In fact, nearly a quarter of Americans have made a purchase over the last year because they received direct mailers. Some things never change, and people’s love for getting mail is one of them.

Offline marketing might one day become pointless, but for now, it still serves a purpose. Businesses across America continue to see benefits, and as long as they can avoid these offline marketing mistakes, those benefits will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

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.

Should Local Businesses Be Using Pay-Per-Click Ads?

Local businesses should at least consider using every marketing technique at their disposal once. In the world of digital marketing, this includes pay-per-click (PPC) ads that charge budding entrepreneurs every time someone clicks on their ads.

While the efficacy of PPC ads can vary by business type, industry and location, there are at least a few pay-per-click benefits that owners should consider.

No Waiting for Organic

Maybe one of the biggest benefits of pay-per-click ads is the fact that they’re immediate. This is likely also why, not too long ago, 72 percent of marketers said they’d be increasing their focus on PPC advertising.

Instead of waiting for keywords, backlinks, and engagement to drive a page up the ranking organically, businesses can immediately have their ad show up at the top. Keep in mind, though, that some people move right past paid ads. This means analytics should be used to test this benefit.

No Play, No Pay

When a company buys a billboard or certain ads on social media, they’re charged regardless of whether they see results. This means an ineffective ad could cost a business hundreds before they realize it’s not working.

With PPC ads, on the other hand, money-strapped entrepreneurs will only pay when an interested party actually clicks on the link. If they do this, half the battle is already won, and it’s the only time the business will be charged.

PPC Marketing Research

Another great benefit of pay-per-click ads is the fact that they allow for marketing research. If a company wants to test out a new focused keyword, they can see how well it performs with PPC before investing in content centered on the phrase.

They can also see if a new product or service will be in high demand. A marketing manager who can effectively judge PPC analytics can help a business know what’s going on before it ever happens.

The benefits of pay-per-click advertising are numerous, but data-driven results are more important. If the aforementioned benefits are realized through PPC advertising, that’s great. If not, it’s time to reconsider the strategy or remove it altogether.

Why Is Emoji Marketing a Real Thing?

If there’s one thing constant about marketing, it’s the fact that it’s always evolving. Something that may not even exist today might be the marketing tool of tomorrow.

Strangely enough, it seems as if emojis – the small smiley faces overwhelmingly used in messaging – have made their way to the marketing landscape. It might be hard to understand why, but these little icons can actually make a marketing strategy more effective.

Improved Email Marketing

Whether or not a local business uses a specific marketing strategy should depend upon data. Just how effective is the strategy? When it comes to email marketing and emojis, there’s definitely a positive correlation.

In fact, a recent study found that 56 percent of companies that include emojis and other symbols in their subject lines experience higher open rates. While this could vary based on targeted demographic, trying out the method is certainly worth the chance.

Improves Communication to Consumers

Anyone who has had a conversation over text in their life knows that meaning can be lost in the digital realm. Even putting emphasis on the wrong word when reading can completely change the connotation of a message. Using emojis removes this potentiality. Both positive and negative messages can get consumers’ attention, and using emojis ensures they’ll certainly understand the conveyed meaning.

Marketing on a Personal Level

Any marketer who’s been paying attention knows that the drive towards personal-level marketing has been speeding up. Individuals want to feel as if they’re speaking with real people rather than just marketing messages. Emojis help accomplish this.

The simple fact is that emojis create the feeling of humanity. In fact, scientists have found that people who embrace emojis are more successful and make more friends than others. Everyone loves a kind gesture, and these emoticons can do just that.

While many may still see emojis as cliché and childish, they are certainly catching on in the business world. From Pepsi to Taco Bell, big corporations are already using emoji marketing, and data-driven science says local businesses should as well.

3 Offline Marketing Tactics that Annoy Customers

There’s no doubt that marketing is an essential aspect to any company’s success, and while we do live in a digital world, offline marketing is still important. From guerilla tactics to attending trade shows, these non-digital methods can really pay off.

Of course, there’s a right and wrong way to do everything, so business owners should never engage in these terrible offline marketing strategies.

Cold Calling from Noisy Offices

Cold calls annoy most people, but it is an effective offline strategy for certain industries. In fact, for some companies, it’s the only offline marketing tactic they use. Because of this, cold calling shouldn’t be overlooked entirely, but if it’s done in a noisy environment, that’s when things go south.

Consumers who speak on cold calls are doing businesses a favor. If they hear loud voices from 20 other representatives doing the same thing in the background, they’re likely to get annoyed and hang up.

Using Offline Tactics to Force Feed Online Marketing

Handing out business cards, flyers, and even action-dependent coupons is a great offline marketing technique that can lead to online success. In many cases, though, business owners take advantage when they receive an email from an interested party.

Keep in mind that an inquiry email isn’t an invitation to add someone to a mailing list. This can make people sour on a company quickly, and it shows how an offline technique can quickly equate to online failure.

The Everyday Sale

Numerous businesses across America have banners out front saying “One Day Sale,” “Going Out of Business Sale” or “Today Only! 25% Off!” In many cases, these time-dependent promotions are exactly what they say they are.

In other situations, though, they’re just attractive banners store owners leave up to draw business. While this may be great at bringing in a few tourists or city newcomers, local customers will quickly realize what’s going on and potentially become annoyed.

It’s important that local businesses use a variety of marketing tactics. This doesn’t mean, however, that every strategy should be utilized. There are winners and losers, and the aforementioned far too often turn out to be losers.

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.

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