Use a Marketing Agency to Build Real Estate Authority Online

Outsource Your Marketing

6 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Your Marketing to an Agency

Online marketing is easy. Everybody’s doing it, from bloggers to Etsy entrepreneurs. Why should you pay for something you can do yourself, right?
You could look at it that way. It’s certainly true that technology has made marketing more accessible than ever. If you’re just starting out, you may think that spending money to hire an agency doesn’t make sense.
You’re wrong.
In fact, failing to hire an agency is one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make. It’s not necessary in every situation. But here’s the thing:
“If you’re not a professional marketer, it’s a virtual certainty that you’re missing opportunities – and sales – because of the marketing choices you’re making.”
Yikes. That’s not what you want, right? Most small and medium-sized business can’t afford to give sales away.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about how you can tell if it’s time to outsource your marketing to an agency.

#1: You Don’t Have a Handle on Your Online Presence

Handle on Your Online Presence
The first big indicator that you need a professional marketer is that you don’t really know how people perceive your brand online.
Let’s face it, “online” is a big place. You might think of your website as your home base, but you also need to know how your brand is represented:

  • On social media (on your profiles pages as well as in mentions)
  • On review sites like Yelp and Google
  • In blog posts and niche publications
  • On forums related to your industry
  • In online directories

That’s a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re wearing multiple hats as you run your business. A professional marketer will have tools and expertise to assess your online presence. They can take your brand’s online temperature and then take corrective action to improve the way you’re perceived.

#2: You’re Not Sure How to Allocate Your Marketing Budget

Allocate Your Marketing Budget
Where are you spending your marketing budget? Do you know how much you’re spending? For a lot of entrepreneurs, the answer is no – and that’s a problem.
If you’re handling your own marketing, you might feel as if you’re shooting in the dark. One week you’re spending on Facebook ads. The next, you’re running a Google AdWords campaign. You’re trying everything and hoping that something will bear fruit.
The problem is that you don’t have a marketing plan. You haven’t had the time (or expertise) to evaluate marketing platforms and choose those that are most likely to get you the results you want.
A marketing pro will have broad experience and should be able to assess your brand and target audience – and use that assessment to choose the best marketing options. You don’t need a big budget to be successful, but you do need to know how to use it.

#3: Your Marketing Campaigns Aren’t Generating Leads

Marketing Campaigns
This one should be a no-brainer, yet it’s a common problem for DIY marketers. If your marketing campaigns aren’t bringing you qualified leads, you’re throwing money away.
Guess what? Your marketing campaign could be well-conceived. Perhaps you’ve created what could be a winning ad. You might still have problems with:

  • Knowing which platform is most likely to put your ad in front of people who need your product or service
  • Choosing the right keyword to target on Google or Bing
  • Selecting the right target audience on Facebook or Instagram

In other words, there’s a lot more to lead generation than ad creation. You need to know when, where, and how to display your ad – and who to show it to – if you want to generate leads. A professional marketer will know.

#4: You’re Not Aware of Marketing Trends

Marketing Trends
The world of online marketing is constantly changing. What worked a few months ago might not be effective anymore.
Here’s one example. At the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced it would change its algorithms to favor posts from family and friends over posts from pages and brands. Companies that used to get a fair amount of organic engagement must now pay to get the same attention.
It can be difficult for entrepreneurs to keep up with what’s happening in marketing. You’ve got other things to do.
When you outsource your marketing, you’re paying someone whose job it is to know what the latest and greatest marketing trends are. You won’t have to worry about spending on outdated marketing techniques.
In other words, paying a pro will ensure that your marketing dollar goes further than it would if you tried to handle everything on your own.

#5: You’re Not Testing Your Campaigns

Testing Your Campaigns
Very few people – even marketing pros – create perfect campaigns on their first try. Marketing is both an art and a science, and in science, testing is essential.
Many entrepreneurs never look at the results of their marketing campaigns. They don’t know which metrics matter – and that means they’re not using their results to tweak their campaigns and improve them.
Marketing pros understand the value of split testing. Once they launch a campaign, they’ll measure the results and tweak the ad until it’s perfect. You might not have the time to do that – and that’s why you need a pro to do it for you.
Done properly, this kind of meticulous tracking and testing can make a huge difference in your conversions and ultimately, in your bottom line.

#6: You’re Not Making Marketing a Priority

Making Marketing a Priority
Is marketing something you think about every day, or is it an afterthought? For many entrepreneurs, it’s the latter. They make time for it when they can.
The problem with that, of course, is that you won’t get the robust results you deserve if marketing isn’t a priority. You might push it aside in favor of other needs that you view as more pressing.
Marketing should be a priority. It’s the only way you’ll create a strong brand, build your platform, attract new leads, and convert them into paying customers.
If you don’t have time to give marketing the attention it deserves, you need to hire someone to do it for you. It’s just that simple.

Outsourcing your marketing will cost you…

… but it won’t cost you as much as running lackluster campaigns that do nothing to build your brand and attract leads. It’s worth a bit of up-front investment to get the results you need.
Businesses Near Me

How to Rank for “Businesses Near Me” Local Searches

Search has changed in the last four years. Anybody who’s paying attention knows that.
Since 2014, mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches. At the same time, Google has prioritized local searches to the point where finding non-local results has become almost impossible. In fact:
These two factors, combined with a concurrent rise in voice search, have changed the ballgame when it comes to ranking for local searches on Google.
They explain why searches for “businesses near me” have skyrocketed. After , if someone’s out looking for a place to eat or a store to visit, they’re probably not looking for something 100 miles away. They want to know what they can find nearby.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to improve your “near me” search results.

Understand What Factors Influence “Near Me” Searches

“Near Me” Searches
It’s important to understand which factors make the biggest difference in “near me” searches. The solution is not stuffing your site with “near me” keywords. Instead, keep these three things in mind.

  1. The relevance of your business to the search being conducted. Google wants to return only relevant results. That means if someone searches for a shoe store, your clothing store may not rank even if you sell shoes, too. Likewise, a sushi restaurant won’t rank as highly if someone searches “Asian restaurants near me” as it would if they searched “sushi restaurants near me.”
  2. How close your business is to the searcher’s location. People who are conducting “near me” searches want businesses that are close by. Even if your business is relevant, a distance of 100 miles will mean you rank lower than a business that’s just five miles from the searcher’s location.
  3. How prominent your business is online. A business with a top-ranking website, multiple listings in directories, and a strong social media presence is likely going to earn a higher rank than one with a weak online presence.

The key here, then, is to make it clear what your business does and where it’s located and to combine those with the strongest possible online presence.

Amplify Your Search Signals

Search Signals
To improve your rank, you need to let Google and other search engines know where you are. One way to do that is to plant virtual flags by getting your business included in online directories and review sites.
You should start by searching the most relevant “near me” terms to see where you rank in the results. You’ll also want to note the sites that appear near the top. They will likely include:

  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Trip Advisor

You may also see local directories that are specific to your area or niche. Make a note of these. Then, go and claim your listings on each site. If you’re not listed, create a profile.
It’s also important to make sure your NAP listings are consistent. It should be clear that the company listed on Yelp is the same as the one on Foursquare and the one linked to your Facebook page.

Differentiate Your Company from Others in the Area

Differentiate Your Company
What sets your business apart from the others that rank in “near me” searches? One way to find out is to vary your search terms and focus on the things you offer that others don’t.
For example, let’s say you own a sushi restaurant. You should search “sushi restaurants near me,” but you might also vary it and search these terms, too:

  • Sushi restaurants near me open 24 hours
  • Sushi restaurants near me that deliver
  • Top sushi restaurants near me
  • Affordable sushi restaurants near me

You get the idea, I hope. If you’re the only sushi restaurant in the area that delivers, highlighting your delivery service can help you attract new customers.

Name Local Landmarks and Other Identifying Features

Local Landmarks
Your NAP listings tell potential customers where to find you, but they may use other terms to define what’s near them. For example, many large cities have defined neighborhoods. In San Diego, these include:

  • Normal Heights
  • The Golden Triangle
  • Mira Mesa

The same is true in other big cities. Identifying yourself by the neighborhood you’re in can help you rank in “near me” searches.
The same is true of landmarks. Someone in Seattle might search for “Italian restaurants near the Space Needle.” You may also want to name prominent businesses near you (provided they aren’t your competitors). Adding exterior photos can also help identify your location.

Target Mobile Customers

Target Mobile Customers
According to Review Tracker, 14% of all searches are carried out by people who want to visit a business immediately. It makes sense to target these people, many of whom will be searching using mobile devices.
One way to do that is to include your telephone number with all listings. Some sites may allow you to enable a “Call Now” feature so that mobile users can dial you with one touch. One example of this is Facebook, where mobile advertisers can choose “Call Now” as their CTA button.

Encourage Your Customers to Review Your Business

Review Your Business
The final step you need to take is encouraging your customers to review your business on Google. Any review signal can help, but for obvious reasons, Google reviews carry more weight than those on other sites.
Keep in mind that businesses that actively solicit reviews tend to get more reviews and have higher average ratings than businesses that don’t. One reason is that people who are satisfied often won’t bother to leave a review – whereas people who are unhappy are motivated to leave one.
You can start by generating a link that your customers can use to leave reviews. You can find detailed instructions on how to do it here.
Of course, you’ll also need to monitor your reviews and respond as needed. That way, people who read reviews will see that you care about your customers’ experience.

Remember that rankings change…

Even if you’ve done all the things suggested here, it’s still important to monitor your search rankings. If you’re still not getting the rank you deserve, you’ll need to double down on your efforts to make sure that people near you can find you.
Building Authority

Why Building Authority is the Secret to Online Success

Who are you and why should anybody care what you think?
If you can’t answer that question in a compelling manner, then you’re probably not an authority figure in your niche.
Maybe you’re just starting out. Or, maybe you’ve been in the game a while, but you’re having a hard time getting people to pay attention to you.
Either way, the solution is to make yourself into an authority.
Here’s the secret that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know:
Authority is not something other people bestow on you. It’s something you can build.
That might surprise you. It shouldn’t. The people you view as authorities created their authority by their actions. And you can too.

Why Authority Matters

Why Authority Matters
Why is authority important? It’s very simple. When you have authority, people listen to what you say. They value your opinion – and when you tell them to buy something, they’ll do it.
That’s why authority is one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence.  Psychologically speaking, people are inclined to do what an authority figure tells them to do – even if they wouldn’t do it on their own.
A simple example of this principle in action comes from television advertising. Maybe you remember those commercials featuring well-known actors. They always started with something like this:
I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.
You might think of that as a disclaimer, but it’s a statement of authority. People were accustomed to thinking of those actors as doctors. So, when they recommended a cough syrup or headache medication, people trusted those recommendations.
Another way of looking at it is that authority is based on trust. If you do a good job building authority, people will trust you and your products.

Branding and Authority

Branding and Authority
You’ll build authority more quickly if you define your brand and present it in a consistent way in all your online marketing.
Why? Because authority is easier to build if you have a narrowly defined area of expertise. Nobody is equally knowledgeable about everything, right?
Of course, there are exceptions. Someone like Oprah is so well known that people might take her word for just about anything. She can present herself as an authority on self-help, alternative medicine, clothing, and books because she has achieved a level of authority that allows it.
Most of us can’t do that. We need to define our niches and stick to them.
Here are some ways you can create a consistent and authoritative brand:

  1. Understand how you want people to think of you and your brand and create your brand personality and voice around those things.
  2. Create a customer persona and use it to create your online content that will appeal to your target audience.
  3. Use the same colors, language, and voice everywhere your brand is represented online. That includes your website, social media accounts, email marketing, and in your comments on review sites and forums.
  4. Don’t let yourself get distracted by things that aren’t related to your brand. You shouldn’t be sharing the latest viral video on your Facebook page unless it’s relevant to your followers. Save those things for your personal page.

Think of your brand as the cornerstone of your authority.

Authoritative Content

Authoritative Content
Every piece of content you create for your brand must be authoritative. That means that everything on your website, online profiles, social media accounts, ads, and marketing videos must be conceptualized and executed with authority in mind.
It all starts with your website. You need a professional site that uses clear and authoritative language designed to appeal directly to your target audience. It should be easy to use and provide immediate value to the people who visit it.
The same is true of your social media content. Every status update, Tweet, or photo you post must be relevant to your brand and presented with authority.
You may also want to consider creating long-form authoritative content to build authority. Examples include:

  • Exclusive content
  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • How-to guides

Any of these can help you demonstrate your authority.

Authoritative Opinions

Authoritative Opinions
If you watch cable news, you know that one of the ways they fill the 24-hour news cycle is by booking authority figures to offer opinions about current events.
Think about it. Every political consultant, pollster, or retired general is there for one reason. They have experience and knowledge that is applicable to a story, and because of that, they are viewed as authorities whose opinion is worth hearing.
You can build the same kind of authority online by being opinionated. That doesn’t mean you should spout about politics (unless that’s related to your brand, of course.) What it does mean is that you shouldn’t be afraid to say what you think.
One very effective way to do that is to curate content for your social media pages. Curated content is content that somebody else created. You can find it by following:

  • General news outlets and publications
  • Industry-specific publications
  • Popular bloggers in your niche
  • Popular brands in your niche

It’s not enough to share curated content without commenting on it. That won’t help you build authority. Instead, read or watch everything you share and then offer an opinion about it.
For example, say you find an article that lists ten essential things about your industry. You might feel that the writer left out something important. You should point that out when you post the article.
Taking a controversial stance can be a good thing, too. When you contradict or rebut something that an established authority says, you’re putting yourself on their level.
The key here is to sound confident when you offer an opinion. If you seem uncertain, people will dismiss your opinion.

There’s one more thing…

The final step to building authority is to put these things together and use them to create marketing campaigns that convert. If you do it right, you’ll set yourself apart from other brands in your niche.
In other words, you won’t just be one option for people seeking products or services in your niche. You’ll be the only option – and all because they view you as an authority figure.
Website Content

Your Website Content Sucks and Here’s Why

Your website content sucks.
That’s painful to hear, but it’s also probably true. But you’re not alone. Most small business website content sucks.
It’s badly conceived, poorly written, boring, and – worst of all – ineffective.
Double Ouch.
The good news is, you can make it not suck. It’s not even that hard. The most difficult part is evaluating your content with a critical eye and acknowledging that it’s not working. Once you’ve done that, it’s within your reach to create compelling and persuasive content that will get results.

Signs That Your Content Sucks

Signs That Your Content Sucks
Your content probably sucks, but how can you be sure? Here are seven signs that your content isn’t pulling its weight.
#1: It’s Stale and Old
The first sign that your content isn’t up to snuff is if it hasn’t been updated in a while. Look at your website. Is your content:

  • Out of date?
  • Stagnant?
  • Been the same for more than a year, or years?

These are all signs that your content is staler than last week’s loaf of bread. Google prioritizes fresh content, and so do web users. Your content must be updated regularly to stay relevant.
#2: It’s Not as Good as Your Competitors’ Content
The second sign that your content needs refining is if it’s not measuring up to your competitors’ content. You should be looking at your competitors’ sites and social media pages regularly, so you know what they’re doing.
If they’re blogging and you’re not – or if they’ve recently revamped their website – your stale site isn’t going to be able to compete. It’s time for considering an update.
#3: It Doesn’t Clearly Define Your Unique Sales Proposition
What’s so special about your business and what it has to offer? If your content isn’t doing a great job of identifying your USP so that prospects know why they should choose your product, your content is letting you down.
One of the key jobs of online content is to differentiate one brand from another. You can’t expect people to buy your products unless your content gives them a reason to do so.
#4: You’re Not Using Your Content to Generate Leads
Is your content helping you attract new site visitors and get them to opt-in to your list? If it isn’t, that’s a sure-fire sign that your content sucks.
It’s rare for a prospect to visit a site and make a purchase the first time. It requires repeated contact with a brand to convert a lead into a paying customer. Your content should be compelling enough to get people to give you their email addresses to get it – so you can follow up and nurture them.
#5: Your Content Is a Snooze
You might know a lot about your niche. You might even be the most knowledgeable person around – but it won’t matter if your content is boring.
A lot of entrepreneurs post regular blog posts that are effective only if readers are looking for a cure for their insomnia. Your blog posts (and all your other content) must be highly compelling, entertaining, and useful if you want people to buy your products.
#6: You’ve Omitted a Call to Action
What do you want people to do when they visit your page or view your social media content? If it’s not obvious, then the chances are good that they’re not doing it.
You’d think by now that every entrepreneur would know the importance of including a call to action in their content – and yet, a lot of them don’t do it. Every page (and every post) must have a compelling CTA that tells the reader or viewer what to do next.

How to Create Content That Doesn’t Suck

How to Create Content That Doesn’t Suck
At this point, you know your content sucks. But what can you do about it? That’s the million-dollar question – and the good news is, there are some very easy things you can do right now to improve your content and improve your results.

  1. Audit your website and identify stale content. The first step is to review every page of your site and identify content that’s old, out-of-date, irrelevant, or stale. It may be that every page needs an update.
  2. Make a list of your top competitors and review their websites and social media pages. What are they doing that you’re not? Which content is getting the most engagement? Take notes and don’t be afraid to use their content as an inspiration for your own.
  3. Evaluate your branding and make sure you know your USP. It should be your guiding light as you revamp your content. Every piece of content you create must speak to that USP and make it clear to new and repeat visitors.
  4. Create a content plan for your website. What do you need? Can you create it yourself or do you need to hire a pro? Web design is easier than ever before, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire a professional designer. You should also consider hiring a professional writer.
  5. If you’re not already blogging, start a blog – and come up with compelling, relevant topics that will appeal to your target audience. Remember, you can look at your competitors’ blogs for ideas.
  6. Create a lead magnet to generate leads. A lead magnet is usually a piece of long-form content that you give away to get people to complete your opt-in form. It might be a whitepaper, eBook, or case study. The key is to make sure that it’s valuable to your target audience.
  7. Make sure every page of your site has a CTA. The same goes for your social media posts. Nothing you post should be without a CTA – and the more directly relevant it is to your content, the better off you’ll be.

These seven tips can help you upgrade your content and give your target audience something that’s relevant, valuable, and entertaining. You’ll be able to collect leads – and convert them – if you follow these steps.

One more thing…

The final key to creating content that doesn’t suck is testing. Very few of us can create perfect content on our first try. Testing your content will help you fine-tune it until it’s generating leads for you every day – and that’s one thing you can’t do if your content sucks.
Marketing Strategies

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

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:

  1. Optimization for local search
  2. 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

Online Listings
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:

  1. Do a Google search for your company and identify all online listings
  2. Claim each listing according to the instructions on the site
  3. 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

Opt-In Form
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

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

Pay for Advertising
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.

Marketing Myths

7 Video Marketing Myths Debunked!

As of 2017, videos account for approximately 74% of all web traffic.
Crazy, right?
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

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

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

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

Track the ROI
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.

Email Automation

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

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

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

Time Your Emails
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:

  1. Check their history to see what time they subscribed to your list
  2. Review their visits to your site to see when most of them have occurred
  3. 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

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.
Local SEO

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

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?

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.

  1. Inaccurate online listings, also known as NAP listings, can dilute your online presence and negatively impact your rank on Google.
  2. The lower your Google rank, the less organic traffic your website will get.
  3. You’ll likely miss out on a spot in the Google three-pack – which means your competitors will be there instead.
  4. 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

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:

  • Maps
  • Menus
  • Business hours
  • Events
  • 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.