Be an Influencer to Increase Sales

Strategies to Reach Mobile Users

5 Proven Strategies to Reach Mobile Users

You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing people staring at their smart phones – and if they’re not on a mobile phone, they’re using a tablet. Mobile devices are everywhere.
If you’re still not convinced, chew on this. As of 2017, more people worldwide own mobile devices than computers – and every other statistic related to online activity is reflecting the shift.
What does that mean for local marketers? Simply put, it’s time to stop ignoring mobile and make it a significant part of your marketing mix. You can’t afford not to.
Still unsure how to target mobile users? Here are five proven strategies you can use to expand your mobile reach.

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Honestly, if you haven’t already taken care of this first thing then it’s time to quit delaying and make it happen. You can be penalized by Google if you’re not using a mobile responsive theme.
It’s more than just using a mobile theme, though. You’ve got to work to make visiting your site an awesome experience for mobile users. They should be able to access all of the same functions and features as computer users.
Where a lot of sites miss the boat is in the details. Sometimes mobile users can’t access all of their content – or they can’t access certain features.
The good news is if you don’t want to hire a professional designer, you can get most of what you need by buying a premium WordPress theme if you’re using WordPress for your site. All premium themes are mobile friendly, and any additional functionality you want can be added with plug-ins.

Allow Mobile Payments

Allow Mobile Payments
Did you known that as of 2016, one in five mobile users were using mobile payment methods? If your company isn’t letting customers use mobile wallets to make payments, then you might be missing out on an opportunity to connect with mobile users.
Part of connecting with mobile users is embracing the technology they use. Mobile wallets offer consumers an extra layer of protection by encrypting their credit card information. That makes them – and you – less vulnerable to hackers.
Adding mobile payments and letting your followers know about it is a great way to build your mobile following and attract mobile customers to your business.

Use Location-Based Marketing

Use Location-Based Marketing
As a local business owner, you need to be able to reach out to local customers. It makes sense. If you’re in Poughkeepsie, it’s not going to do you any good to have an ad reach someone who might be interested in your store – but who lives in Seattle.
Geotargeting offers local business owners a way to reach out to mobile users at times when they’re most likely to visit a store. That’s pretty cool – but it’s only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to location-based marketing.
Let’s start with the obvious. Basic geotargeting means that you can use GPS to reach out directly to customers when they’re near your store. One example might be a restaurant pinging their mobile followers with a happy hour coupon at 5:00 on a Thursday.
Or… you might use geofencing to send automatic notifications to users when they’re within a certain distance of your store. It’s a way of microtargeting people when they’re most likely to come in and see you.
But there’s more to geotargeting than that. You can use geotargeting to send notifications and offers to people when they’re in a location where your products might come in handy. What about reaching out to dog owners at a local dog park? Or notifying people of your sale on beach toys when they’re at the beach?
You get the idea. Location-based marketing is the kind of precision marketing tool that can help you get the biggest possible return on your investment because it targets people who are in a position to take advantage of your offer right away.

Use Text Messages for Marketing

Use Text Messages for Marketing
If you want to be sure that your target audience is seeing your advertising, text messaging – or SMS messaging as it’s also known – is one of the best ways to do it.
The stats back it up. Research shows that SMS messages have an open rate of 90%. That blows every other form of engagement out of the water. With email marketing, you’re lucky to get half of your recipients to open the messages you send.
Text messages are ideal because they get delivered immediately. And unlike regular advertising, which may hinge on Facebook algorithms and other metrics that are out of your control, each person who receives an SMS message from you will get a notification.
It’s the kind of personal reach that marketers could only dream of – at least, until text messaging came on the scene.
You can use SMS messages to make offers, send coupons, deal with customer service issues, and a whole slew of other things. Text messages have a personal feel to them because they are delivered directly to your audience, and that kind of attention can help build trust and brand loyalty.
And perhaps most important of all – at least when it comes to managing your marketing budget – text messaging is affordable. What do you have to lose?

Optimize Your Emails for Mobile Users

Optimize Your Emails for Mobile Users
Did you know that, in all likelihood, more than half of the people you email open your messages on a mobile device?
If your marketing emails aren’t optimized for mobile users, then they’re probably getting deleted – or ultimately, ignored – out of frustration. No mobile user wants to have to scroll horizontally or wait ages for images to download so they can see your content.
You can greatly improve your chances of connecting with mobile customers by making sure that your emails look great no matter where your subscribers view them.
Use a tool like Litmus to preview your emails on more than 70 different platforms, including mobile devices and all major email providers. This one small step can ensure that you don’t miss out on mobile marketing opportunities or lose subscribers because your emails aren’t mobile friendly.

The Future of Marketing is Mobile…

You don’t want to be left behind. Mobile marketing offers a wealth of opportunities to local businesses. What can you do to reach mobile customers today?
YouTube Hacks for Local Business

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

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

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

YouTube Ads
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

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

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

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

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.
The Benefits of Using Lead Ads

How Local Businesses Can Drive More Revenue with Influencer Marketing

Have you ever watched a commercial featuring a big celebrity and wishes that you had access to the same resources that big companies do?
You might not be able to get Tom Cruise to recommend your products, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t reap the benefits of influencer marketing. In fact, sometimes getting a local influencer to talk about your brand can be more effective than attracting a huge celebrity.
Influencer marketing works. Research shows that 69% of consumer are more likely to buy a product after reading about it on a blog they follow. That’s just as true for small companies as it is for big ones.
Do you want to put influencer marketing to work for you? Here are some tips to help you.

Identify Your Marketing Goals

Identify Your Marketing Goals
It’s not a good idea to reach out to influencers until you know what you hope to accomplish through your association with them. In that sense, influencer marketing is no different than any other kind of marketing – you need a strategy.
Are you hoping to attract a certain number of new customers? Boost sales of a particular product? Whatever your goal is, you have to define it and be able to articulate it before you take the next step.

Locate Potential Influencers

Locate Potential Influencers
Your goals are in place… but how do you find influencers to work with? The key is to use tools to find the influencers who are most likely to have an impact on potential customers in your area.
There are two ways to approach your search. The first is to search for influencers by niche. For example, if you own an apparel store it would make sense to seek out fashion bloggers to talk about your products.
You can find bloggers by niche using Blog Catalog, which has convenient menus you can use to narrow your search. You might also want to try searching on Google using your keywords. Sticking with fashion, you could search “top fashion blogs” to find potential influencers.
You can find social media influencers by niche by searching keywords with Facebook or Twitter. Searching hashtags may be useful on Twitter and Instagram.
An alternative option for local business is to search for influencers in your area. Here are a few tools that might speed up the search process.

  1. Twtrland is a tool you can use to track influencers anywhere in the world based on their location (as well as other metrics.)
  2. If you’re using Google+ for your business, you can try Circloscope as a way of identifying local influencers in your niche.
  3. Add local keywords to Google and social media searches to narrow your list of results.

Accumulate a list with multiple influencers so you have options.

Filter Your List

Filter Your List
Every influencer you find isn’t going to be a match for your particular business and needs. Many of them may not be. That’s why, before you reach out, it’s important to dig in and do some research to narrow down your list.
What are some of the metrics you can use to narrow your choices?

  • Number of followers. Determining this figure on social media is pretty easy, but on a blog it can be harder. You might see the number of subscribers, but not everybody who reads the blog subscribes to it. Sites like Alexa can help you figure out how much traffic a blog gets.
  • Target audience. If there isn’t a fair amount of overlap between your target audience and an influencer’s audience, there’s no point in pursuing a relationship. It can be tricky to find out who someone’s followers are, but it’s worth taking the time to do it.
  • Brand values. Anybody you’re considering has to be a good match for your brand values. You might find a local blogger with a big audience, but if they’re advocating for ideas that you don’t want anywhere near your brand, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
  • Passion. Checking out what an influencer has done to help other products or brands is a good way to determine whether they’ll be a passionate advocate for your products.

Nobody knows your brand better than you do, so do the legwork and then trust your instincts to choose the best influencers to approach.

Build a Relationship

The Benefits of Partnerships
At this point, you might be tempted to jump in with both feet and ask the influencers you’ve located to talk about your brand.
Not so fast. Instead, take a little bit of time to build up some rapport with them. Subscribe to their blog, follow them on social media – and get involved.
Involvement might consist of commenting on their blog, liking their posts on Instagram, or re-Tweeting or replying to them on Twitter.
Think of this stage as paving the way for your request. You can soften them up a bit and make them more receptive to your approach if you let them know ahead of time that you’re a fan.

Make a Request

Make a Request
Once you’ve established a connection, then it’s time to reach out and ask if the influencer would be willing to work with you.
If you’re asking someone to help you out on Facebook, your best approach might be to message them on Facebook – and so on. Be polite and professional, and it wouldn’t hurt to offer up some mild flattery too.
Know in advance what you’re prepared to offer in terms of compensation. Some influencers may work only for cash, while others may be willing to help you out for a free product.
Be prepared to negotiate – but also, be prepared to walk away. It’s not worth paying an amount you can’t afford. Influencer marketing can be a big help to local businesses, but not if you break the bank to pay someone.

Reap the Rewards

Some Statistics to Think About
Once you’ve made a deal, all that’s left is to let the influencer you’ve selected work their magic. Part of the reason you chose them is because of the connection they have with their followers, so don’t try to micromanage it. Let them have some creative control over how they approach it.
And don’t forget to track your results! Influencer marketing works best when it’s just one piece of your marketing mix. Try one campaign – and then expand if you find that influencer marketing makes sense for your business.
Facebook Reach

How to Maximize Your Facebook Reach

You’re probably using Facebook to market your business already. And you should be – it’s the world’s largest social media site with more than a 1.7 billion active monthly users.
With numbers like that, you might think it’d be easy to reach your audience on Facebook…
But the opposite is actually true. Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithms are making it harder than ever before to increase your organic reach, and that poses a serious challenge for local businesses who want to get the biggest possible ROI for their Facebook activity.
Does that mean you should give up?
Absolutely not! What it does mean, though, is that you’ve got to know some tricks to help you maximize your Facebook reach so your content doesn’t end up getting lost in the shuffle.

Create Shareable Content

Create Shareable Content
This first tip might seem completely obvious, but a surprising number of local businesses miss it. Dry, boring content that offers no value to your users isn’t going to get shared.
By contrast, when you post interesting, fun, entertaining, and informative content that offers real value, it will get shared. In fact, it might get shared a lot.
To understand what qualifies as shareable content, let’s first talk about what doesn’t qualify. Hard sales pitches? Not shareable. Dry facts and statistics? Boring, and likely to die on the vine.
What does get shared?

  • Engaging blog posts that offer significant value and entertainment rolled into one.
  • Striking images – pictures are the most-shared content on Facebook.
  • Videos – they’re the second most popular form of content. And don’t forget Facebook Live as an option!
  • Infographics that make digesting large amounts of data interesting and fun.

You get the idea. Create content that’s worth sharing, and it will be shared. It’s just that simple.

Remember that Engagement is a Two-Way Street

Engagement is a Two-Way Street
So your followers are engaging with your content… but are you engaging back?
Social media engagement is a two-way street. That’s why they call it social. As a business owner, your job is to make sure that the people who engage with your content – whether they like, share, or comment – know that you appreciate it.
How can you do that? Well, you can start by replying to comments in a timely manner. The people who follow businesses on Facebook want to know that their patronage is appreciated. A quick “Thank you” or a reply can go a long way when it comes to communicating your gratitude.
Likewise, when people share your content, navigate to their page and click “Like” or leave a comment thanking them. It’s polite – and it’s also smart, because it shows the person posting (and all of their followers) that you take a personal interest in your fans.
An added benefit to this kind of engagement is that it boosts your post’s visibility. The more activity there is on a post, the more likely it is that it will stay visible in your followers’ feeds for hours after you post it.

Build Organic Reach Prior to Boosting

Organic Reach
Boosting a post on Facebook is an effective way of broadening your reach – but you have to do it the right way. Content that’s already popular is more likely to deliver the ROI you want.
Instead of boosting a post as soon as you share it, wait a while. See if people engage with it – and then make a decision about boosting it. That way, you won’t waste money boosting something that’s dead in the water…
And you’ll also benefit from the Bandwagon Effect because people who see your post once it’s boosted will know that it’s already popular.
If a post doesn’t get the engagement you want, you might want to try reposting it before giving up on it entirely. And don’t forget that you can drive traffic to your posts using other means, such as emailing your list, linking to it on your blog, or even sending a text message to your mobile customers.

Boost Your Most Popular Content

Boost Your Most Popular Content
Even professional marketers miss the boat with their content sometimes, and you probably will too. That’s okay – because you’re going to make the most of the content that does connect by boosting it.
Boosting Facebook posts can help you reach a new audience. You have the option of sharing a post with your followers and their contacts, or you can use Facebook’s demographic and psychographic targeting to reach a new audience of people who are likely to be in the market for what you’re selling.
The key to boosting is to verify the popularity of a piece of content first – as we just mentioned – and then put your money behind it by boosting it. Think of the initial post as a form of market testing that you use to determine whether a post is worth boosting.
After you boost a post, keep an eye on its reach and you can use that information to determine whether to extend the boost. If a post is getting a ton of engagement in the form of comments and shares, then it’s probably a good use of your money to keep it going.

Track Your Stats

Track Your Stats
Tracking your stats on Facebook is essential if you want to maximize your reach. Your stats can tell you:

  • Which forms of content are most likely to grab your followers’ attention
  • What times of day are best to post
  • Which content gets the most shares
  • Which content generates the most traffic to your website

All of this information represents data you can use to reevaluate your Facebook strategy going forward. Instead of throwing good money after bad, you can make more of the content that your followers want to see.

Facebook reach can be a slippery thing…

But if you take the time to create great content, engage your followers, and be strategic about boosting posts, you can maximize your reach without blowing through your social advertising budget. Organic reach isn’t as easy as it used to be, but you do have some control over how and when your followers see your content.
Social Media like the Pros

How to Get Leads from Social Media like the Pros

Are you making the most of your social media pages? Sites like Facebook and Twitter are a wonderful way to interact with current customers, but if you handle them properly, they can also be a great source of new leads.
A lot of local businesses don’t do a good job of using social media to generate leads because they’re not sure how to go about it. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the ways you can use social media to get qualified leads for your company.

Strategy #1: Fill out your profiles completely

Fill out your profiles completely
A lot of small business owners skip the step of completing a profile, but that’s a mistake. Take the time to fill in your company’s full name, address, and phone number, provide a brief description, and link back to your website. Choose a compelling profile picture and cover photo. The more complete your profile is, the more compelling it will be to potential customers.
 

Strategy #2: Link your social media posts to landing pages, not your home page

Link your social media posts to landing pages, not your home page
If you’re posting in an effort to get people to buy a particular product, make sure you link directly to it. Prospective leads shouldn’t have to guess what you want them to do.
When you send them directly to a page – especially one that will require them to opt in to see the content – you greatly increase the chances that they will convert. Also, make sure that every page has your name and address, and an easy way to contact you.
 

Strategy #3: Sponsor a contest

Sponsor a contest
This one is a pretty popular strategy that’s been around for a while, but it’s worth including because it is so effective. People who are already following you on social media are highly likely to be interested in anything you are giving away.
You can maximize your exposure by offering one entry to people who like the post, and a second entry to those who share it. Your most loyal customers will always be willing to share, and the shared post will get your company in front of a whole new audience, many of whom will also be local.

Strategy #4: Use a Twitter card or pinned Facebook note to attract leads

Use a Twitter card or pinned Facebook note to attract leads
One downside of using social media is that content turns over very quickly. That means that a call to action that you post can easily get lost in the shuffle – unless you pin it. Facebook allows you to write a note and pin it at the top of your page.
Likewise, Twitter allows you to create a Twitter card with relevant information and pin it to the top of your profile. The benefit of pinning is that it leaves your content in a highly visible location for as long as you want, thus increasing visits to your website – and also visits to your business.

Strategy #5: Sponsor a Google Hangout with local customers

Sponsor a Google Hangout with local customers
One of the trickiest things about getting people to buy from you is overcoming the objections that they hear inside their heads. If you can get an opportunity to talk to them directly, you can address those concerns easily. A Google Hangout is a nice way to accomplish that.
Set up a time for the Google Hangout using your Google+ or Google My Business account. Your Hangout can be a round table discussion with potential customers or even a live Q & A with people online. The benefit of live online events like this is that you can interact directly with customers, and also post the Hangout for people who couldn’t make it to watch later.

Strategy #6: Use geographical targeting for your social media ads

Use geographical targeting for your social media ads
Social media advertising is a cost-effective option for local companies. One of the best reasons to invest in paid social media advertising is that you can easily target your ads to the people who are in your geographical area and are interested in your products.
The benefit of this kind of targeting is that it prevents you from having to pay for clicks and leads that are not relevant. Your ad will be seen only by people who are in your area.
On Facebook, you also have the option of sponsoring a post and targeting your followers and their followers. The geographical targeting won’t be as tight as it would be with locational targeting, but the chances are good that a high percentage of your followers’ friends are in your area, too.

Strategy #7: Use whisper codes to increase traffic to your store

Use whisper codes to increase traffic to your store
When you own a brick and mortar store, figuring out who’s responding to your social media marketing efforts can be tricky. One way to help track your ROI is to send out a “whisper code” to your followers. A whisper code is basically a verbal coupon. Instead of sending a bar code that needs to be scanned, you give customers a word or phrase to whisper in return for a freebie.
The benefit of whisper codes is that you can track your social media campaigns to figure out if they’re working. The chances are that any customer who comes to your store in anticipation of getting something free will end up buying more than they otherwise would have.

Strategy #8: Use social media to promote events and appearances

Use social media to promote events and appearances
Local people come to local events. If your company is sponsoring a local event, or if you regularly sell at a farmer’s market, use social media to spread the word. You might remind people of the hours, let them know what you’ll be selling, or even invite them to stop by to get a free sample.
A related pro tip is to interact with other local businesses and find ways to cross-promote your products. Using the farmer’s market example again, a local baker might tag-team with a creamery to get people to buy both bread and butter. If each of you promotes your own product as well as the other person’s, you can increase the traffic on the day of the event – and possibly gain some new social media followers, too!

Strategy #9: Use Facebook’s “Call Now” feature to target mobile users

Use Facebook’s “Call Now” feature to target mobile users
When you advertise on Facebook, you have the choice of targeting mobile users by including a “Call Now” button on your ad. The button enables mobile users to call you directly by touching the button instead of having to look up and dial your number. It’s a great way to encourage contact – and give you the opportunity to pitch a lead directly.
Social media strategies may vary from business to business, but the strategies listed here will help you make the most of the time and effort you put in to your social media campaigns.
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