8 Secrets of Local Facebook Marketing in 2018
Have you made New Year’s resolutions for your business?
If not, why not?
Think about it. It’s a new year and it’s one that’s full of opportunities. Even if you killed it with your marketing in 2017, there’s always room for improvement. So, here’s one suggestion for a resolution:
Master local marketing on Facebook.
Facebook is huge, with 2.2 billion users and counting. The chances are good that many of your customers use it daily – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing a great job of connecting with them.
And let’s face it – social marketing has some challenges. Facebook keeps refining their algorithms, and that’s made it harder than it used to be to be sure your target audience sees the content you post.
With that in mind, here are eight things you can do starting right now to ring the new year in with a bang – and become a master of local Facebook marketing.
#1: Create a Facebook Event
Creating events on Facebook helps raise your visibility, engage existing customers, and attract new ones. Here’s how to do it:
- Come up with an event. It could be a sale, a social event, or even a performance.
- Go to the Events tab to create your event.
- Fill in the date and time of your event, choose a category for it, and put in keywords that will help people find it.
- Add a Google map or directions.
- Link to a ticketing site if people need to buy tickets.
Once the event is set up, you can invite people and share it on your page. You can even pay to boost it, or run it as an ad to attract more attendees.
#2: Create and Share Local Content
You’re a local business – so show some local pride to connect with potential customers! If there’s a local tradition or event coming up, or if you see an article that highlights something unique about your city, share it with your followers.
Of course, you need to do more than share. You can increase your page’s visibility by tagging other local businesses, events, or landmarks in your post.
This is an opportunity to connect with other local business owners, too. You might be able to help one another out!
#3: Let People Know What You’re Doing
Are you attending a trade show? Hosting a booth at a community event? Maybe you’ve sponsored a soccer team and you’re attending a game.
Whatever it is, it’s an opportunity to check in at your location, tag other businesses and events, and keep your audience up-to-date on what you’re doing.
It’s important here not to overdo tagging. Nobody cares if you stopped at Starbucks for a latte. Stick to events and locations that highlight your business and your audience will thank you.
#4: Get People to Write Facebook Reviews of Your Business
Reviews are hugely important. They provide social proof – and a recent Bright Local survey found that 92% of all consumers read online reviews before they make a purchase.
Facebook reviews can help increase your profile and attract new customers. You can encourage people to leave reviews by reaching out to your list or creating a post where you ask for reviews.
Keep in mind that star reviews without a written review accompanying them won’t get you as much visibility as written reviews. You may want to create a template for people who aren’t sure what to write where you ask things like:
- What problem did you have before buying our product or using our service?
- How did working with us help you?
- What were the biggest changes you experienced because of your purchase?
Once you’ve collected some reviews, you can share them on your page. You can do the same, of course, with reviews from Yelp and Google.
#5: Create Groups for Your Followers
Did you know that Facebook allows you to create groups for people who follow your page? Creating a group can be an effective way of building a community and focusing conversations and content on a topic.
For example, if you offer an array of services, you might create a group for each one. That way, people can connect with others who use the service, ask questions, and even recommend your services to others.
#6: Give People a Reason to Come to Your Store
Many local businesses rely on foot traffic to drive sales. If you do, you can use your Facebook account to encourage people to come see you in person.
For example, you might create and share an in-person coupon that people can use when they come to your store. Or, you might offer a giveaway for those who visit your location.
Other things you can do to entice in-person visits include:
- Aligning yourself with a local cause or charity
- Hosting in-store events
- Teaming up with other local businesses to create joint promotions
- Having a contest or sweepstakes for people who make a purchase within a specified timeframe
These things can all help attract customers to your store – and get them to make purchases.
#7: Run a Contest
Running a contest on Facebook can help you attract new followers and build engagement. If you decide to do it, keep in mind that Facebook has strict rules about what you can and can’t do. For example, you can’t require followers to Like or Share a post to enter.
Make sure that your contest has:
- A clear start and end date
- Prizes that are appealing and relevant to your target audience
- Well-defined rules
And, of course, you’ll need to deliver prizes on schedule and as promised.
#8: Market Your Facebook Page in Your Store
In local marketing, one hand washes the other. While you might put your focus on bringing customers from your Facebook page to your store, it can work in reverse, too!
For example, you might put a link to your Facebook page on flyers, business cards, and coupons. You can also ask customers to take a picture in your store and post it on Facebook while tagging you. Offering an incentive, like a 10% off coupon or a gift card, can help.
Local Facebook marketing poses some challenges, but now you know how to address them. Local content, events, and contests can all help you attract new customers to your Facebook page – and your store.
Following the Tips in This Guide Will Result in a Perfect PR for your Local Business
How to Turn Your Business News Into Publicity to Attract More Customers
A well-known actress, Jane Russell once said “Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any”.
It’s true. Your business needs publicity and there is no better marketing tool for your business than publicity, it’s “grade A” online exposure.
Publicity is vital to the growth of your business because it gets people talking about your business and brings customers through the door (or to your website). It is so powerful that companies have huge marketing budgets and hire specialists and agencies in order to generate a steady stream of publicity for their company.
The internet has created a level playing field. Now any business, no matter how small can generate publicity easier and more efficiently than ever before.
It is now possible to generate publicity “on demand” and it’s time you capitalize on it.
If you have struggled with ideas on how to “get press” for your business, read on because we’re going to reveal 21 ways you can turn your business news and events into publicity that will attract eager new customers that are excited about what you’re doing!
Turn your story into an online press release:
At first you might be thinking that you don’t have any stories to release but when you think about it, as a business you make news regularly.
In addition to the obvious milestones such as opening your business or launching a new product or service that you can easily capitalize everyday events that you take for granted into stories that can generate publicity. For example:
- Has your company or member of staff recently won an award or have you had a major breakthrough like landing a large contract? If so, that is a valid story to people interested in your industry.
- People always like to read inspirational stories, so if you have been successful in your business or you have recently run a marathon for charity, tell people.
- If you are a skilled craftsperson or your business specializes in a particular niche why not share some of your expertise and teach others how to do something similar. It helps you to build credibility and be known as a true expert in your field.
- Are you passionate about a particular charity? You can create awareness about a cause you believe in and create some publicity for your business. Companies do this all of the time and that is why so many of them are keen to sponsor charities and be involved with them.
- If you notice alarming trends happening in your industry you can share this news and turn your knowledge and expertise into a marketing asset for your company.
- There are many holiday events throughout the year and almost every type of business celebrates these events in their own way. This is a great opportunity for your business to team up with a charity or local organization.
- Put an end to a popular myth or misunderstanding in your industry. For example, if you are a dentist you might want to release a story explaining that bad breath can be caused by several factors, only one of which is poor dental hygiene. Explain some of the causes of bad breath and what people can do if they experience it. There will be a common myth in your industry too. Journalists and online bloggers love these kinds of stories and they can go viral very quickly.
- Is your business contributing to helping the environment? In the days of global warming don’t underestimate how making even slight changes to the way that your business does things can make a difference. You can win customers over with a ‘green’ story.
- Turn to any magazine or news story and there will be some kind of stats or survey result mentioned. Everybody loves stats and surveys and none more so than journalists. Why? Because they find ready-made stories to write about in this type of news release. Stories like this are quick to go viral too as readers love to share facts and figures and will provide links to them on their blogs, they will tweet about them add them to their Facebook or other social media page. If you can share new market studies, research, survey or poll results from your industry you will find that this will be a popular story for you and your business.
- Provide helpful tips. Be generous and get your industry out there by publishing a few helpful tips. You will be rewarded by converting search engine users into potential customers. If you sell digital cameras, for example, you could publish a list of features that potential buyers should be looking out for when buying a camera or produce a guide on which type of camera would best suit the kind of photography that they are wanting to do.
As an expert in your niche, you have all of the knowledge and tips and there are thousands of people out there searching for them so press releases and publishing these tips is an ideal way to get connected. It is worth remembering that just one or two brilliant tips are much better than a long list of useless ones.
You can no doubt think of many other ways that your business can create PR stories and get your business noticed.
Breathe some life into your story
Now that you have received some inspiration it is time to bring your story and press release to life particularly if your story about your new product or promotion seems boring.
- Give it a human element
If your story feels a bit flat try putting people at the forefront of the story. Your story will have much more success because people are much more likely to share stories that involve people rather than the story being focussed on the product, especially if it features people that they know or who are local to their area. For example, if you have a happy customer who had great results using your product or service you can write about that. Or perhaps you have an employee who could demonstrate how effective your product is.
- Link your story to a current trend
If you have a story that comments on and contributes to industry trends it will get a lot of buzz on social networks because that is what people interested in your industry are interested in and want to read, not to mention journalists and bloggers who cover your industry. By linking your story to an industry trend can help give your story more legs and the potential to create a buzz so that people will share it.
- Attract attention with an image
The Internet is very visual so it is a good idea to break up a copy in your press release with a well placed image that gives visual impact to your story. Don’t worry too much about the image itself. You might just want to include your logo or a picture of your product or service. It will add interest to your story and make people more inclined to read it.
- Direct people to your website
If you have submitted a great story that captures people’s imagination don’t leave them hanging at the end of the story. It is the perfect opportunity to direct them to your website using a strong call to action. This could be something as simple as “Find out more at www.YourWebsite.com”. It doesn’t really matter too much how you phrase it. The aim is simply to instruct your readers to take action and to make it easier for them.
Use Social Media to create a media buzz for your story
Once you have created your press release it is time to promote it on your social media networks. This is going to give your publicity and even bigger boost and drive thousands of extra people to your website.
How to promote your press release on Facebook
- Link to your story on your Facebook status:
This is a simple way to promote your news to your whole network in a single click. If your network happens to include bloggers and reporters your news will reach them without you having to do a single pitch and they will be able to run with the idea immediately.
- Share an interesting fact from your story
Despite having a great headline for your press release it is a good idea to give your readers yet another reason to click through to read the press release. You can do this by adding an intriguing quote, fact or statistic out of your press release and make that the main focus of your Facebook post.
- Ask for a Like
This is one of those occasions where you should not be afraid to ask for likes or reposts when you promote your story on Facebook. If you have already built a loyal following of fans and have been an active part of the community they will be happy to spread the word for you, especially if your story is interesting.
- Promoting Your Press Release on Twitter
Twitter is perfect for telling people about your press release because you can easily reach a wide audience and it is easy for your followers to share and re-tweet your post. You can literally spread the word in seconds.
- Tweet your story more than once
Not everybody will see your Tweet depending on the time you post it and where in the world your audience is so don’t be afraid to repost your Tweet a day or two later and at various times. To avoid annoying the ones who might have seen the tweet already, change the headline and be careful not to post it too many times.
- Be Generous and promote those who promote you
If one of your followers has been kind enough to re-tweet your post, acknowledge it by thanking them. Not only is it courteous but it is also a good way to create a second round of buzz and publicity on Twitter. It means that your story will appear twice in the feed every time it is re-tweeted.
- Use Hashtags
Categorize your story by adding a Hashtag to a keyword or phrase relating to your story or industry. As well as getting your story seen by people outside your network of followers it will also put you on the radar for journalists and bloggers who follow that particular Hashtag.
Getting the story out there
Social media, of course, goes beyond Facebook and Twitter. You can Pin your story on Pinterest and Google+ it as well as blogging it and sharing it on LinkedIn.
The online world really is your oyster and provides you with many exciting opportunities to get your story out there and have people all around the world reading about your brand in a matter of minutes.
If you have an announcement or newsworthy story about your business, here are so many places that you could promote it.
Our job is to help businesses like yours to get the word out and drive thousands of new clients to your website and company.
Contact us and discover what we could do for your business.
Make Every Click Count: Tips for Creating Killer PPC Ads
When you create pay-per-click ads, you pay for every click you get. So, it stands to reason that you want to make every click count.
But how can you do that?
The key is to hone your ad creation skills so that your ads:
- Appeal directly to your target audience
- Give people what they need and expect to see
- Persuade them to click through and visit your site
The good news? Even if you don’t think of yourself as a marketing pro, there are some simple tricks you can learn to take your PPC ads to the next level. Here they are.
#1: Make Your Ads Mobile-Responsive
You probably already know that mobile searches now outstrip desktop services. That means that your PPC ads must be adapted for mobile users if you want to get great results.
Here’s what to do:
- Make your landing pages mobile-responsive so they can be read on any device (Bonus: you won’t have to create special mobile landing pages)
- Add a “click to call” button on your ad
- Use IF functions to add special text and deals for mobile customers. For example, you might offer free shipping on mobile orders.
These simple tweaks to your ad can drive mobile engagement – and sales!
#2: Use Numbers in Headlines and Copy
People respond to specificity in ads and headlines. If there are dozens of ways to use your product, or customers get access to millions of email addresses, say that in your headline.
Using numbers adds to your credibility, too. It’s why politicians often reel off a string of statistics when they’re in a debate.
Try adding numbers, percentages, and other stats to your PPC ads. Of course, make sure they’re both accurate and relevant to your target audience. If you do, you’ll see what a difference a number can make in your click-through rate.
#3: Tailor Your Message to Customers’ Places in the Sales Funnel
The people who see your ads won’t all be at the same place in the buying cycle. Some may be looking for general information to help them solve a problem. Others may be ready to pull the trigger and make a purchase.
Often, you can tell where a customer is based on the keyword they use to search. A customer who searches for general information about pest control might say:
How to get rid of pests
Someone who’s ready to hire an exterminator, on the other hand, might search:
Best termite exterminator in Grand Rapids
See the difference? When you write an ad, you choose keywords to target. Make sure your headline and copy match the intention of the keyword. You’ll have a better chance of getting people to click if you do.
#4: Use Persuasive Language in Your Headline
If you’re running an AdWords campaign, your headline is likely to be the focus of anybody who searches your keywords. That means it’s got to be snappy, direct, and appealing.
It’s important not to be misleading in your headline. It should be clear what product or service you’re selling.
Originally, AdWords allowed only a few words per line – so there wasn’t room to get fancy. Now, with the new expanded headline format, you can add a few more words. But your goal should still be to get to the point quickly.
Of course, if you’re running a Facebook ad, you have a bit more room. The key thing is to make your headlines persuasive without resorting to clickbait.
#5: Use a Compelling Image for Your Facebook Ad
On Facebook, users are accustomed to seeking out images and looking at them first. It’s why visual content gets so much more engagement than plain, written content.
You can increase your clicks by finding a compelling, relevant image to use in your ad. This isn’t the place to use an image that’s unrelated to your offer.
Original images (meaning, not stock images) are best. Photographs, illustrations, and infographics can all get the job done if you use them properly.
#6: Match Your Landing Page to Your Ad
Nobody (and I mean nobody) likes a bait and switch. When your ad and your landing page don’t match, it tells people that you can’t be trusted. And considering how essential trust and authority are in marketing, you can’t afford to do anything to undermine the trust you’ve acquired.
In other words, if your ad promotes an offer, it should direct them to a page that promotes the same offer. When the details match, it creates trust and reassures the people who click. That means they’ll be more likely to take the next step, whether that means opting in to your list or making a purchase.
To make it easier, you can even use dynamic text replacement technology to swap out text based on the keyword used to find your ad. That way, you’ll always be sure that your page and your ad are in synch.
#7: Use Retargeting to Close the Deal
You already know that your first “touch” with a potential customer is unlikely to lead to a sale. You may need to connect with them several times before they’re ready to take the leap.
You can use PPC ads on Google and Facebook to retarget people who’ve clicked on an ad and visited your site. Specifically, you can target them based on what they did on your site.
For example, the Facebook pixel lets you track which pages people visit or even which blog posts they read. You can then retarget them with content that you choose based on what they looked at. That increases the chances that they’ll click again – and maybe this time, they’ll buy from you!
You’re going to pay for clicks one way or the other…
That’s the nature of PPC ads, after all. The best thing you can do to improve your CTR and conversions is to dedicate yourself to using these seven tricks to create ads that compel clicks – and ultimately, increase your sales.
These SEO Trends Will Dominate in 2018
Trying to stay on top of SEO trends is like trying to hit a moving target while on a speeding train. The landscape and perspective changes so quickly that it can feel impossible to keep up.
But you need to try.
The good news is that there are some new trends on Google that can help increase your visibility – if you know how to use them.
There’s a bit of a learning curve here, but we’re going to break it down for you and tell you how to take advantage of each one… so 2018 can be your best year yet.
Use Google’s New SERP Features
You’ve undoubtedly noticed that Google’s search results have changed in recent years. Where there used to be a list of ten links per page, now you’ve got all kinds of features, including:
- Knowledge Graphs
- The Local Three-Pack
- Featured Snippets
These things can all help you get more traffic. For example, strong local SEO that includes local keywords and links can help you earn a place in the three-pack. Having great instructional content can earn you the Featured Snippet position, which appears above organic search results.
Use Structured Markup to Enhance Your SERP Listing
Have you ever noticed that some businesses have pictures, review stars, and other relevant information alongside their link on the SERP? You can do that, too.
Structured markup allows you to use HTML to give Google instructions about what to display when one of your keywords is searched. For example, you might choose to display:
- A picture of your business
- Your business hours
- Your average review rating in stars
You can find a detailed explanation of how to do it here. It’s important to think about what the people searching your keywords are most likely to want. Then, you can use structured markup to include those things in your SERP listing.
As a bonus, including structured markup can increase the chances that you’ll end up with a Featured Snippet or Knowledge Graph spot on the page.
Increase the Relevance of Your Content
Every time Google updates its algorithm, it gets more difficult to appear near the top of the SERP.
Why? Because the increasing sophistication of Google’s ability to determine the relevance of a page – its new RankBrain features is a key example – means that you can’t get away with sub-par content.
Of course, there are things you can do to increase your relevance. One of the main things is to use LSI – that’s Latent Semantic Indexing – to bolster your keywords.
LSI are terms that relate to your main keywords. You can find them by searching your keyword and scrolling to the bottom of the page. LSI terms appear beneath a headline that says, “Searches related to [your keyword]”.
Using LSI in an organic and informative way can improve your relevance and help Google index your site. It also reduces the chances that your site will be penalized for low-quality content.
Add Voice Search Keywords to Your Site
If you’ve ever said, “OK Google” to search for something on your phone, you know that voice search is here to stay. In fact, usage of voice search is very likely to increase in the coming year.
To make the most of it, try researching the questions and search terms people are most likely to use in voice search. One tool you can try is Rank Tracker (they have a free version.)
Some of the keywords you come up with may include misspellings. You’ll have to decide whether you want to try to rank for those. The addition of Google’s RankBrain has made it easier for Google to determine what searchers want, and it can hurt your credibility to include awkward phrases and misspelled words on your site.
Make Sure Your Site Loads in Three Seconds or Less
Three seconds isn’t much, but if your site takes longer than that to load, you may end up frustrating searchers and making them hit the dreaded back button.
Both mobile and desktop users are impatient. The first thing you need to do is test your page – and it’s essential to test each page of your site separately. Your home page might load quickly, but if even one of your landing pages is slow, you could be losing out.
Google has a free tool you can use to check your loading speed. If your site loads quickly, you’re good to go. If not, they’ll give you an explanation for the slowness and some tips to help you fix it.
Use Google Personalization to Your Advantage
Increasingly, Google (and other search engines) are tailoring the SERP to the searcher’s preferences and history. That means they use the searcher’s:
- Previous searches
- Demographic info (age, gender, etc.)
- Social media profile (think Google+)
If you want to get a look at your unbiased SERP, use an incognito window to do it. You’ll need to do your best to earn a spot near the top, but once a user clicks your listing, you’ll become a preferred listing for them.
One of the most important thing you can do to take advantage of personalization is to use local keywords and SEO to improve your rank.
Cultivate Linkless Mentions
Link building is a cornerstone of SEO – but what if you didn’t need someone to link to your page to reap some SEO benefits? That seems to be the way things are headed.
Bing has already confirmed that they’re using linkless mentions of brands to rank pages. There’s some reason to believe that Google may be headed the same way.
That means that anything you can do to encourage people to mention your brand by name can potentially help you build authority and improve your SERP.
SEO is always changing…
But you can keep up! The seven trends mentioned here are likely to make a big impact in 2018. By getting on top of them now, you can get a leg up on the competition – and grab the lion’s share of clicks and sales.
Upgrading SSL for Beginners – Why This is a Must for 2018!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard something about upgrading your site with SSL. It’s been in the news a lot.
But what does it mean?
If you’re confused about SSL and why it matters, you’re not alone. A lot of entrepreneurs are wondering whether they really need to worry about it – and what to do if the answer is yes.
So, let’s break it down.
What Is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. That might not mean much to you, but it means a lot to Google. Here’s why.
SSL is the standard encryption used to protect web users’ information when it’s transmitted online. You may have noticed that some websites’ URLs start with:
While others start with:
That “s” makes all the difference when it comes to security. When a user gives you their personal information, whether it’s an email address, a home address, a cell phone number, or a credit card number, they want to be confident that thieves and hackers can’t access their data.
It makes sense. SSL is the protection that stands between your customers’ personal information and the dishonest online predators who want to steal it.
Why Does SSL Matter?
What if your website isn’t a place where you collect private information? Do you still need to worry about SSL?
The short answer is yes. At the beginning of 2017, Google announced that by October, it would start labeling any sites not using SSL as Insecure. This was a change from their previous policy, which highlighted secure sites with a green padlock webicon on the browser bar.
The bottom line here is that even if you’re not collecting sensitive information on your site, you don’t want Google telling your visitors that your site isn’t secure. Many of them won’t stop to consider that they have the option of not giving you personal information. They’ll just leave.
That’s a bad thing for obvious reasons. You want both your current customers and potential leads to feel that it’s safe to do business with you.
Once you’ve properly installed your SSL certificate, Google will display your URL with a gray padlock next to it. That tells customers that your site is secure.
How to Upgrade SSL
The process of upgrading your SSL and complying with Google’s new rules isn’t a complex one, but it might seem that way to beginners. You’ll have to follow several steps to get it done.
We’ll run through them here, but don’t worry if it seems like a hassle. At the end of this article, we’ll give you a link to a service that can take care of the whole thing for you.
Here are the steps you should follow.
Determine What Kind of Certificate You Need
There are three different types of SSL certificates, and you must choose the proper one to make your site secure:
- DV or Domain Validation – suitable if you only need to protect a single domain
- OV or Organization Validation – suitable if you must protect many subdomains
- EV or Extended Validation – suitable if you must protect many domains
Most eCommerce stores will want to choose the OV or EV certificate to ensure that all areas of their site are secure. You can find more information about how to choose the right certificate here.
You’ll have to verify ownership of your site to generate the certificate.
Obtain or Purchase Your Certificate
Next, you must obtain your SSL certificate to install on your website. Some hosting companies offer certificates at no cost, but you also have the option of buying a custom certificate. The costs may range from less than $50 to more than $200, depending on your needs or where you buy the certificate.
Keep in mind that the SSL certificate you buy will need to be updated regularly. Each certificate is good for between one and two years. Most sites that issue certificates will allow you to sign up for automatic renewals, so you won’t have to worry about your certificate expiring.
A good rule of thumb is to pay for a certificate only if you need to. If a simple DV certificate will do and you can get one at no cost, that’s what you should do.
Install Your Certificate
Now, it’s time to install your certificate. The specific installation process will vary depending on your host and server, and it’s not practical to list step-by-step instructions for every option.
That said, the process of installing a certificate is usually well-documented and you should be able to find instructions that tell you how to do it.
The tricky thing about the installation process is that it requires you to go in and do a lot of redirecting and tweaking to your site’s code after the fact. Every link that redirects users to the http:// version of your site must be updated to redirect them to the new, secure version.
It’s this part of the process that can be a roadblock for entrepreneurs. Without the specific technical knowledge to do it – and without time in their busy schedules – it can be easy to overlook links and leave your site partially or completely unprotected as a result.
Test Your Site
The final step is to test your site and make sure that the SSL is working the way it’s supposed to. There are online tools you can use to do it, and your hosting company may give you a verification after you’ve completed the installation.
Just remember that testing is crucial. If you miss any step along the way, you might end up with only a partial installation.
Here’s Help If You Need It…
Whew – that sounds like a lot to do, doesn’t it? The good news is that you don’t have to do it on your own.
If you’d like a pro to help you upgrade your SSL and prevent Google from flagging your site as insecure, we recommend SSL Sniper. Click here to find out how they can help you get through the process of installing and testing your SSL certificate.