5 Essential Marketing Strategies You Should Already Be Using
These days, it seems like everyone’s talking about FOMO – the fear of missing out. They use it to talk about life experiences and events, including everything from trying new foods to traveling to new places.
Well, that fear of missing out applies to marketing, too.
You might think that you’re doing everything you can to market your business…
… but what if you’re not?
You might be losing out on:
- New customers
- Increased sales
- Your future success
You don’t want that to happen to you. And you might be wondering what marketing strategies you should be implementing to make sure it doesn’t.
Here they are.
#1: Optimize Your Website
This first marketing strategy might seem obvious but a lot of local businesses don’t bother doing it. That’s because they have limited marketing budgets and know-how and they often create websites on their own. We’re talking about optimizing your website.
That might not be a problem for a business that already has a solid customer base, but what if you want to grow your company? An optimized site is a must.
There are two key kinds of optimization to think about:
- Optimization for local search
- Optimization for mobile
Both kinds of optimization are designed to help you attract organic search traffic to your site. For the former, you’ll need to audit your site, choose the right keywords, and use tags and content to get your site to rank.
For mobile optimization, the key is to use a theme that allows mobile users to view all your content easily regardless of what device they use to access your site.
#2: Claim (and Standardize) All Online Listings of Your Business
Your website is important, but it’s not the only way people find you online.
You might already know that, but few local businesses take the time to research their online listings and claim them – and that means they’re missing out.
Unclaimed listings may be incorrect. The last thing you need is a misleading listing that has the wrong URL or business hours.
The process of claiming your listings should go like this:
- Do a Google search for your company and identify all online listings
- Claim each listing according to the instructions on the site
- Standardize all NAP listings (that’s Name, Address, Phone Number) so they’re identical. Everything, from street names to abbreviations to the format of the telephone number must be the same.
If you do this, you can be sure that you’re not diluting your online presence with a slew of inaccurate or unclaimed listings. It might seem like a small thing, but it makes a big difference to Google.
#3: Include an Opt-In Form on Every Page of Your Site
Building an email list is a must for every local business. It lets you communicate with both existing and prospective customers, announce new products and events, and turn leads into sales.
So why is it, then, that so few local businesses do everything they can to attract email subscribers? It might be because they don’t realize how easy it is to maximize their efforts.
It all starts with an opt-in form. If your form is appearing on only one page on your site, you’re not capturing as many subscribers as you should be.
The solution? Put an opt-in form on every page. On some pages, you may want to include an offer, such as a tip sheet or a short eBook, to attract subscribers. On others, the presence of the form on the sidebar or as a pop-up may be enough.
The main point is that anybody who lands on ANY page of your site is a potential subscriber – so treat them that way.
#4: Be Smart on Social Media
For some local businesses, social media is an afterthought. They might have a Facebook page or a presence on Instagram, but they post sporadically and don’t do much to build or engage their audience.
There’s no denying that social media looms large on the marketing landscape. Here’s what you should be doing:
- Creating and adhering to a content-posting schedule so your followers know when to look for you
- Posting content that’s entertaining and valuable to your audience
- Varying your content so it’s always interesting
- Answer questions from customers
Don’t let your social media accounts stagnate. They’re the perfect place to engage current customers and show new ones what they’re missing.
#5: Pay for Advertising Strategically
There’s an awful lot you can do to market your company online for free, but sometimes, it pays to pay.
Here’s the thing: on Facebook, your posts only reach a tiny fraction of your followers organically. The number was 6.5% as of 2015 and it’s declined since then. Some business with a lot of followers may only get about 2% organic reach.
There’s a similar problem on Twitter due to the volume of Tweets on the average users feed. It’s easy to miss things.
Don’t lose heart, though, because the solution is a simple one. Every so often, you need to pay to advertise on social media.
On Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, you can boost a post – often for just a few dollars. Boosting greatly increases the number of people who see your content.
Here are the types of things you should post:
- Content that gets a lot of organic engagement
- Product announcements and event information
- Content that’s designed to attract email subscribers
- Content that you think is particularly relevant and useful to your audience
There’s an art to boosting content, and it’s your job to master it. Even if you spend only a dollar a day on boosted content, you’re likely to see a significant increase in your engagement.
Stop Worrying about Missing Out…
… and put yourself in the thick of things. You might not have a huge marketing budget, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your marketing goals. The five marketing musts on this list will ensure that you don’t have to worry about marketing FOMO ever again.
7 Video Marketing Myths Debunked!
As of 2017, videos account for approximately 74% of all web traffic.
You might think that would mean that all business use video marketing – after all, why wouldn’t they be?
And yet, the truth is that 31% of all businesses and marketing professionals have not yet used video marketing to promote their companies.
Because they fall for video marketing myths that convince them they can’t.
Myths and misconceptions have a way of taking root – and it can be hard to debunk them. But debunk them we must…
… because you can’t afford to wait one more day to put video into your marketing mix.
Here are 7 of the most common video marketing myths – and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: Video Marketing Is Too Expensive for Small Companies
This myth is like a bad penny – it keeps turning up. So why is it so persistent, and what’s the truth?
It’s persistent because our views of what it costs to make a video are skewed by Hollywood. We hear that a “low budget” movie still has a budget of $50 million and we jump to the (erroneous) collusion that video marketing just isn’t for us.
The truth is that video marketing can be quite affordable. Marketing videos don’t have to be highly polished affairs with special effects and famous actors. Most of the time they’re not.
In fact, some kinds of video marketing are designed to be casual and unpolished – think Facebook Live, for example.
Don’t worry about the cost of your videos. Spend what you can afford and create the best videos you can within your budget.
Myth #2: I Need to be a Tech-Whiz to Produce Marketing Videos
Making videos is difficult – right?
Sure, if you insist on using top-of-the-line equipment, you’ll have to know something about videography to get started.
But what if you just want to get in front of your audience?
Video marketing can be done with a point-and-shoot video camera or even a cell phone. In fact, internet marketing superstar Gary Vaynerchuk got his start with videos he shot with his phone.
In other words, don’t let a lack of technical know-how stop you from giving video marketing a try. Provided that your audience sees what you want them to see, they’ll be satisfied.
Myth #3: I Don’t Know How to Write a Video Script
This myth sticks around because writing can be scary. But not every marketing video needs a script.
If you have the budget, you can absolutely hire a writer to take your idea and turn it into a polished script. But some of the most effective marketing videos feature entrepreneurs talking directly to their audience.
Look at it this way: nobody knows your products and services better than you do. You probably know them inside and out – and that means you can speak about them without needing a script.
If you’re worried you’ll get off track, create a rough outline of your video and run through it a few times before you film it.
And if you decide you need a script, think of it as talking one on one to a prospective customer. Using a casual, conversational tone takes a lot of the guesswork out of writing a video script.
Myth #4: It’s Not Worth Making Videos Unless They Go Viral
Would it be great if your marketing video went viral? Absolutely!
Does it need to go viral to be considered a success? No way.
We’ve all seen those videos on YouTube – the ones with millions of views. It’s exciting to think about millions of people seeing your content, but trying to make something like that happen is akin to attempting to catch lightning in a bottle. You simply can’t control it.
Besides, the number of views a video gets is far less important than the number of conversions it makes. You can make a hugely entertaining video that gets a ton of views, but if most of those views are by people outside your target audience, you’re really no better off than you would be if you get a lower number of highly-targeted views.
Myth #5: Nobody Will Be Able to Find My Videos
This myth is the flip-side of the previous one. It asks: what if you made a video and nobody saw it?
Some videos get more views than others, but if you optimize and promote your video properly, it will find its audience.
Keep in mind that YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world behind Google. It attracts millions of viewers a day – and some of those viewers are looking for content like yours.
Most internet users say they’d rather watch an explainer video about a product or service than read an article about it. That means that the people in your target audience are actively looking for videos like the ones you might produce.
Myth #6: Video Isn’t Versatile
A video is just a video… or is it?
It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs and business owners to assume that video is only good for one thing: lead generation.
That’s a mistake. In fact, video is one of the most versatile marketing formats available. It can be used to:
- Build an email list
- Educate your target audience
- Share tips and tricks of the trade
- Establish authority and trust
You can use video marketing for any marketing purpose – and you should.
Myth #7: I Won’t Be Able to Track the ROI of My Marketing Videos
Tracking ROI is a must for any marketing campaign, and believe it or not, there’s a kernel of truth in this myth – but you shouldn’t let that stop you.
It’s true that YouTube provides only a smattering of statistics. You’ll know how many views your video gets, not where they came from or how many clicks you get. You might be able to cobble together some information, but it will be incomplete at best.
The trick here is to use a video enablement platform to capture the information you need. That way, you can see:
- How long people spent watching your video
- Which parts they skipped over
- Which parts they rewatched
- What they did after they watched it
This information can help you track the ROI of your videos and fine-tune future videos to ensure a better response.
Video Marketing Might Not Be in Your Marketing Mix Now…
… but it should be. And there’s no reason to wait. These marketing myths are holding you back, and it’s time to let them go – and reap the rewards of video marketing for yourself.
Are You Using Email Automation the RIGHT Way?
You’re probably familiar with email automation. Many local businesses use autoresponder software to send out newsletters and marketing emails.
Are you doing it the right way?
Email automation is a tool, but like any tool, it’s only useful if you know how to use it. You won’t get far if all you’re doing is sending an occasional email.
Imagine someone trying to nail two boards together with the wrong side of a hammer, or use a power saw without turning it on. They wouldn’t get very far, right?
The same is true of email marketing. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about some of the RIGHT ways to use email marketing for your local business.
#1: Segment Emails by Topic
The people who visit your blog or website may have some things in common with one another, but their interests likely diverge in other areas.
Why is that important?
Well, you don’t want to waste money sending marketing emails to people who aren’t interested in what they say. That’s the most important thing.
If you’re currently sending identical content to everyone on your list, you’re missing out an opportunity to improve the experience of your subscribers and grow your business at the same time.
For example, say you own a store that sells clothing for both women and children. Some of the people who are on your list might be interested only in women’s clothing – and there’s no point in sending them email content that’s aimed at people who buy kids’ clothing.
The answer is to segment your email list. There are many ways to do it, but here are just a few:
- If a lead opts in through an ad for a product or service, send them content that’s relevant to what they expressed interest in
- Likewise, people who buy from you can be segmented based on their purchase history
- You can also ask people to self-segment by choosing the topics they want to hear about
List segmentation ensures that your subscribers get content that’s custom-tailored to their needs – and that means fewer unread emails and more conversions!
#2: Use Your Blog to Build Your List
It goes without saying that people who read your blog are interested in what you say. So why aren’t you using your blog to get their email addresses?
Few local businesses use this technique, but it’s an easy one to implement – and effective too.
All you need to do is add a subscribe button that allows blog readers to sign up to be notified whenever you post a new blog entry. Then, you can:
- Send them additional content that’s related to the topic of the blog post that got them to sign up
- Ask them what their other interests are
- Send them the offers that are most likely to entice them
The key is remembering that your blog should be a marketing and sales tool. The content you post there should always be relevant to your target audience and designed to attract people who are interested in your products and services.
#3: Time Your Emails So They’ll Be Read
When it comes to email marketing, timing is everything. An email that hits a subscriber’s inbox at the right time is far more effective than one that gets lost in the shuffle.
You might be wondering:
How can I possibly know what time a subscriber is likely to open my emails?
It’s easier than you might think.
You can use your customer’s profile to figure it out. Here are three ways to do it:
- Check their history to see what time they subscribed to your list
- Review their visits to your site to see when most of them have occurred
- Check to see when they open your emails and click on the links inside
Armed with that information, you can segment your list to send emails at the times when subscribers are most likely to open them. In other words, you won’t have to worry that your emails will get lost in the shuffle. They’ll be front and center when you need them to be.
#4: Pay Attention to the People Who Make Purchases
You might have heard that it’s seven times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. In some cases, though, that statistic might be understating the truth. According to Harvard Business Review, the cost of winning a customer may be as much as 25 times that of keeping an old one.
That’s why it’s important to let your current customers know that you value them – and email marketing is one of the best ways to do it. For example:
- At the bare minimum, you should send an email of gratitude when a customer makes a purchase. It lets them know you don’t take their business for granted and creates good will that may lead to their next purchase.
- You may also consider sending them tips on how to get the most from their purchase. Someone who buys a kitchen product might love to get some guidance on surprising ways to use it or a delicious recipe to try.
- Creating sales and special events for existing customers is another way to show them that you value their business and want them to continue to buy from you.
The money you spend sending this type of customer-nurturing email is negligible – and the returns on your investment can be substantial. Happy customers are repeat customers, and as a bonus, they’re also likely to recommend your business to the people they know.
Email Marketing Is Great…
… but it’s only as effective as the effort you put into it. If all you’re doing is sending out boilerplate emails, then you might as well not bother.
Instead, do everything you can to flex your email marketing muscles. If you do, it can be one of the most effective – and most profitable – tools in your marketing arsenal.
Is Local SEO Still Relevant? More Than Ever!
Local SEO is all over the place – and then it’s not. One minute it’s the flavor of the month, and the next, it seems like everybody has forgotten about it.
For that reason, you might be wondering:
Is local SEO still relevant?
The answer is a resounding YES – in fact, we’d argue that it’s more important than ever before. Let’s talk about why.
The State of Local SEO
Let’s start by reviewing some key statistics regarding local SEO. Here’s what you need to know:
- 50% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone – and 34% of those who search on a tablet – make a visit to a local business establishment in the next 24 hours.
- 18% of all mobile searches lead to a purchase within a day
- 93% of searches with local keywords return the coveted Google three-pack at the top of the search engine results page
- 60% of all adults use their mobile devices to research local businesses
These aren’t alternative facts – they’re the proof that local SEO still looms large for business.
What Happens If You Ignore Local SEO?
Maybe you’re not convinced. After all, optimizing your site for local search can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you need to hire someone to handle it for you.
What’s the worst thing that could happen if you ignored local SEO? Here are some ways that it can hurt you.
- Inaccurate online listings, also known as NAP listings, can dilute your online presence and negatively impact your rank on Google.
- The lower your Google rank, the less organic traffic your website will get.
- You’ll likely miss out on a spot in the Google three-pack – which means your competitors will be there instead.
- Your competitors will get the lion’s share of traffic – and business.
In other words, skimping on local SEO can cost your business money and customers. Is that a risk you want to take?
Tips to Get Your Local SEO on Track
To avoid missing out on the benefits of local SEO, you’ve got to take the bull by the horns. You don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of time or money on local SEO, but you do have to make some effort.
With that in mind, here’s the best advice we can give you to help you get your local SEO to where it should be.
#1: Claim and Standardize Your Listings
We keep going on about this, but that’s because it’s important. Every time your business name and address appears online, the information must be A, accurate, and B, uniform.
Here’s why. Your NAP listings play a role in Google’s analysis of your company. Each time its robots see your business listing, they make a note of it. Even minute changes in your listing – such as an abbreviation in one place and a full word in another – dilutes your presence and can affect your rank.
#2: Include Local Terms in Tags and Descriptions
If we had a nickel for every time we saw a local business skip this step… we wouldn’t have to count nickels!
Tags and descriptions play an important role in telling Google (and the people who use it) who and where you are.
That’s why using your city and state (or other identifying local information, such as your service area) is essential.
When your company appears on Google’s SERP, users see your title and meta description. By including pertinent local information in both, you increase the chances that local users will click your link.
To make the best use of this tip, place the local information as close to the beginning of your tag and description as possible. That way, it won’t get cut off by Google.
#3: Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of mobile friendliness. As of 2015, mobile searches have outstripped desktop. You saw above that a huge percentage of local mobile searches result in store visits within one day.
If you’re not delivering a killer mobile performance for your customers, they you’re going to suffer the consequences. Your page needs to be optimized so it looks great on any mobile device from a tiny cell phone to a huge tablet.
Here are some other mobile optimization tips:
- Make sure content is in one column and can be read without scrolling horizontally
- Compress images as needed so they load quickly
- Make buttons large enough that users won’t hit them by mistake or be unable to hit them on the first try
You don’t want mobile users to abandon your site because they can’t use it, so don’t skip this step.
#4: Make the Most of Google My Business
No local business can afford to ignore Google My Business. Because of its association with Google, it can have a huge impact on your local SEO.
To get started, simply click the above link and verify your business. (You’ll have to wait to get a postcard in the mail.) Once it’s been verified, you can update your information, add photos and descriptions, and increase your profile on Google at the same time.
#5: Use Schema Markup
This last tip is the most technical of the bunch, but it can make a huge difference to your SEO.
Schema markup is code you add to your website. It provides Google with essential information about your business, including:
- Business hours
- Payment methods
There’s a huge list of things you can use Schema to highlight. You can find a complete run-down here. You don’t have to use Schema code for everything, but the things you want to highlight will appear on Google and help potential customers find you.
Local SEO Matters More Than Ever
Don’t let anybody fool you. No brick and mortar business can afford to ignore local SEO. It’s the bread and butter of online marketing. Failing to use it to your advantage can cost you time, money, and customers.
7 Smart YouTube Hacks for Local Business
If you’re still caught up in the thinking that YouTube is nothing more than a place to watch cat videos, then you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to increase your digital reach and engage your followers.
In fact, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world – and it’s got more than a billion users! No matter what you’re selling, YouTube should be part of your marketing mix.
For local businesses, the cost of producing videos might seem to be prohibitive, but it all comes down to the return you get on your investment. It’s worth spending a bit more up front if you can recoup those expenses on the back end.
We want you to put YouTube to work for your business – and so we’ve come up with these 7 smart YouTube hacks to help you do it.
#1: Get Your Transcripts in Order
You might not know that YouTube creates a transcript for every video that’s uploaded. It may take a while to appear – and it might not be perfect – but eventually, your videos will have transcripts.
The downside of the process is that the transcripts that YouTube creates are often riddled with mistakes – but you can correct them and boost your engagement at the same time.
You have two options here. The first is to upload your own transcript when you add the video. You can do that by clicking the CC (closed captioning) button, choosing a language, and then following the instructions.
The second option is to wait until YouTube adds the transcript and then access it via the CC button and edit it to correct mistakes. You can use the convenient “Pause while typing” feature to make changes.
Either way, we also recommend pasting the entire transcript into the description box so you can reap the SEO benefits.
#2: Start Shared Videos Right Where You Want Them
What do you do when you want to share a video but you want to cut right to the chase? A simple hack can help you post a video so that it will start playing at the precise spot you choose.
All you need to do to use this hack is to click the share button on the video you want to post. Underneath the list of sharing options, you’ll see a little box that says “Start Video at” with a black space where you can enter the time stamp you want.
If you pause the video where you want it to start the field will auto-fill. Otherwise, you can type in the time. Then, wait a minute for the URL to update, copy it, and share it.
#3: Create a Custom YouTube URL
Do you want to make it easy for people to find your YouTube channel? One way to do it is to create a custom URL for it.
You’ll need to meet some minimum requirements to take advantage of this hack. As long as your channel has:
- Been in existence for at least 30 days
- Attracted at least 100 subscribers
- An uploaded photo as a station icon
- Uploaded station art
To create a custom URL, open your YouTube settings and click the “Advanced” option. If you’re eligible for a unique URL you’ll be prompted to create one.
Just one caveat: make sure to choose the name you want and double-check your spelling. Once you’ve created a URL, you cannot go back and edit it.
#4: Add Clickable Links to Your Videos
You can put a URL to your website in the description of a video – but people might not see it. A better option is to add a clickable link in your video. When a user clicks it, the video will pause and your link will open in a new tab.
Adding a clickable link is easy, and you’ll have the option of choosing a note, a speech bubble, a title, a label, or a spotlight. To do it, go to the Video Manager and then select the video you want to edit. Click “Edit” and choose your link option from the drop-down menu. From there, you can simply follow the directions.
It’s worth noting that you can also add end cards to your video using this same feature.
#5: Stream Live on YouTube
Live video options like Periscope and Facebook Live have been getting a ton of attention lately – and it makes sense. Streaming live to your followers is a great way to engage them and attract new followers, too.
You might not know that YouTube live streaming is an option. It’s not quite as straightforward as Facebook Live, but your subscribers will get a notification when you go live.
You can find detailed instructions on how to stream video live on YouTube by clicking here.
#6: Use YouTube’s Library of Free Sound Effects to Enhance Your Videos
Producing videos can be expensive, but YouTube provides some free resources to make it affordable. You can access their huge library of free music and sound effects by clicking here.
To use the clips, all you need to do is click the download button and save it to your computer as an mp3 file. Once it’s saved, you can add it to a video or use it for any other purpose.
The one caveat here is that some of the music clips do require some attribution. Since the requirements may vary from clip to clip, you’ll have to look at the particular song you choose to make sure you’re handling it properly.
#7: Track Trends to Improve Your Reach
YouTube is owned by Google, so it should come as no surprise that there are some pretty cool statistics you can access to help you evaluate your results and choose trends to boost your engagement.
If you click here, you can access Google Trends and then filter the results so you see only trends on YouTube.
In some cases the YouTube trends may be pretty close to what you’ll find on Google, but the results might surprise you. When the trends diverge, you can use the opportunity to create content that’s more likely to attract viewers on YouTube.
Now Start Making Videos…
What are you waiting for? YouTube is a great tool for marketing local businesses, and you can use it in many different ways. The 7 hacks here are really just the tip of the iceberg, but the more videos you create and share, the more creative you can get by exploring the other tools and options available.