Use Email Marketing Real Estate Referrals

Email List

7 Smart Ways to Grow Your Email List

Email marketing is where it’s at. It might not be the new, sparkly toy in your marketing tool box, but email kills when it comes to ROI. In fact, email marketing earns an average of $40 for every $1 spent.
Let’s face it, that’s the ROI that marketing dreams are made of. And it points to what amounts to a missed opportunity for many businesses. If you’re not actively growing your email list, you’re missing out on one of the best, most cost-effective ways to grow your business.
And here’s the thing. Growing your list doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money. Here are 7 smart ways to attract new subscribers.

#1: Add a Sign-Up Button to Your Facebook Page

Facebook Page
Let’s start with an option that’s free and takes only minutes to do. Facebook now allows businesses to add a Call to Action button on their page. There are six choices, but the one we’re focusing on today is the “Sign Up” button.
The button shows up on the right-hand side of the page just beneath your cover photo. Clicking it will redirect visitors to a URL you provide. In this case, it should be your opt-in page. That’s where you can display information about your list and ask people to fill out the opt-in form.
On a related note, you can run a Facebook ad with a “Sign Up” button too, and it will do the same thing. If you choose the ad, you’ll have to pay for it. But, it’s a cost-effective way to attract new subscribers.

#2: Have a Paper Sign-Up Sheet at Your Business

Paper Sign-Up Sheet
Our next trick is an old-school method to attract subscribers. People who walk into your business may be willing to take a minute to provide you with their name and email address if you make it easy for them to do. And what’s easier than a paper sign-up sheet?
If you choose this option, make sure to include a few lines at the top to tell people why they should subscribe to your list. For example, saying “Sign up here to be the first to know about our upcoming sales and promotions,” people will understand what they’re getting. Even better, they’ll be eager to sign up.
An alternative, of course, is to have your cashiers or other staff ask people for their email addresses when they check out.

#3: Allow People to Subscribe via Text Message

Subscribe via Text Message
One of the biggest obstacles businesses must overcome when attracting subscribers is the inconvenience factor. People don’t want to waste their time filling out a lengthy or complicated form. So, why not let them text to subscribe?
Some email marketing providers are now offering a text to subscribe option. It allows mobile users to text the word “subscribe” to them, and they’ll be added to your email list. What we love about this method is that it takes only seconds to do.
This option works by creating a custom code for new subscribers to use. To make it even easier, you can display a sign in your store with the code so people can see it and act on it immediately.

#4: Collect Email Addresses When You’re Planning an Event

Collect Email Addresses When You’re Planning an Event

Do you host events for your business? Whether you’re putting together a charity fundraiser or a gala opening, you can use the opportunity to collect email addresses and grow your list.
The great thing about this option is that you’ll probably need to ask people for their email addresses anyway. You may need it to send them tickets or updates about the event. Simply adding a checkbox to your event sign-up form makes it a snap for attendees to opt-in to your list at the same time.
The key here is to make sure you describe your list briefly, so people know what they’re signing up for. You want to make it seem like a no-brainer for people to tick that box.

#5: Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet

Lead Magnet
The idea of creating a lead magnet isn’t new – but if you aren’t doing it, it’s new to you. A lead magnet, in case you don’t know, is a freebie you give people to entice them to subscribe to your list.
The key is to create a lead magnet that appeals directly to your target audience. Then, you need to sell it hard. Outline the primary benefits that subscribers will get if they opt in. The more enticing your lead magnet is, the more likely it is that it will help you supersize your list.
Keep in mind that a lead magnet doesn’t have to be worth a lot to be worthwhile. A well-designed tip sheet or template may be just the thing to bring in a slew of new subscribers.

#6: Get Creative with Your Sign-Up Form

Sign-Up Form
You don’t necessarily need a dedicated opt-in page to get people to subscribe to your list. Sometimes, it’s enough to create the perfect opt-in form – and place it perfectly on your page.
One option that I really like is the scroll-triggered form. Instead of putting your form above the fold, as many marketing experts tell you to do, show it to site visitors after they’ve had a chance to read some of your fantastic content.
A form that shows up at the right time can catch readers when they’re impressed with your expertise and grateful for what they’ve learned by reading your content. At that point, they’ll be happy to give you’re their email address in return.

#7: Use Guest Wi-Fi to Collect Addresses

Guest Wi-Fi
Do you allow guests to access your wi-fi? If so, adding a gateway to their access can make it easy to collect email addresses.
Instead of just giving guests the password, add a field to the form and request their email address as well. Even if you make the email field optional, most guests will be happy to provide their email address to use your wi-fi.

Don’t Let Your List Stagnate…

Instead, use these seven smart and easy ways to attract new subscribers. Once they’re on your list, you can wow them with a well-designed drip campaign that will convert them into paying customers.
Customer Referrals

How to Get More Customer Referrals

You want more business. That’s a no-brainer! But if you’re thinking that the best way to get it is through paid advertising, think again.
The truth is that even in this electronic age, word of mouth advertising is worth its weight in gold. That’s why online reviews are important. 97% of all consumers read online reviews prior to patronizing a business – and most often, they’re reviews from strangers.
Referrals from friends and colleagues carry even more weight. In fact, they convert 30% more often than leads that come from other sources.
That’s why you need to set up a referral program to encourage customers to send their friends to you.
But wait… won’t happy customers just refer their friends as a matter of course?
Some might – but most won’t. You need to ask. So, let’s talk about some simple things you can do to get more customer referrals.

Step #1: Identify Potential Referral Sources

Customer Referrals
Referrals can come from many places. Before you decide on the parameters of your new referral program, you’ll need to think about who can provide you with the kind of qualified leads you want. Here’s a run-down of the most likely sources:

  1. Existing customers and clients are a great source of referrals. They know you and your products, and that makes them uniquely qualified to point likely customers your way.
  2. Employees are another potential referral source. Like your customers, they know the company and what it does. They can also provide potential leads with detailed information about the benefits of working with you.
  3. Vendors may be a source of referral business. They know what it’s like to work with you. Even if their experience is with a different side of the business than what customers would see, they can still talk about your products and services knowledgeably.
  4. Joint venture partners are another potential source of referrals. These arrangements may have a quid pro quo element to them, but they can be very effective.
  5. Finally, don’t forget your friends and family. Even if they’re not customers, they can still point people in your direction when the opportunity arises.

The techniques you use to attract more referral business are similar regardless of the source you focus on. Now, let’s talk about what to do to attract referrals.

Ask for Referrals

Referral Sources
The first and most obvious way to get referrals is to ask for them. A lot of businesses skip this step and they miss out on valuable referrals as a result.
Are you wondering why you need to ask? This statistic might explain it. A study at Texas Tech University found that 83% of consumers were willing to refer acquaintances to a business after a positive experience. But – and here’s the corker – only 29% of them did!
Why the gap? It might have something to do with not being asked.
There are lots of ways to ask for referrals. Here are just a few:

  • Send a follow-up email to customers asking them to refer a friend if they’re satisfied with their experience.
  • Hand out referral cards or business cards to people who visit your business.
  • Attach a small supply of business cards to outgoing correspondence and stick a few business cards into the brochures you give out, too.
  • Touch base with your customers by phone. After verifying that they’re happy with your product or service, ask if they know anybody else who might be interested.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best – so don’t forget to ask! And don’t just ask your customers. Put the word out to vendors, employees, friends, and family members, too.

Pinpoint Companies Who Share Your Target Audience

Pinpoint Companies Who Share Your Target Audience
One of the best ways to get referrals is to start with your audience and work from there. In other words – when was the last time you identified local businesses who target the same consumers you do?
Let’s look at a sample audience to illustrate the point: parents with young children. Here are some businesses targeting that audience that might be able to refer customers to one another:

  • A children’s party planning service
  • A martial arts school that offers kids’ classes
  • A toy store
  • A kids’ book store
  • A tutoring service

Those are just a few options, but you can see how quickly an audience-based referral service could grow. Try reaching out to other businesses with the same audience as you and suggest a mutual referral program.

Attract Referrals with Shareable Content

Attract Referrals with Shareable Content
Whether you’re writing a blog post or creating an infographic to share on Pinterest, you should create content with referrals in mind.
Think about it this way. When people share your content, they’re also sharing information about your company – even if only indirectly. Any person who sees your content might be a potential customer.
Create content that provides clear value to the people in your target audience – and then encourage your existing audience to share it. Again, asking is the key. Some people might share your content, but many will only do it if you ask them to.

Incentivize Referrals

Incentivize Referrals
In a perfect world, customers, friends, and family would refer you out of the goodness of their hearts. But… we don’t live in a perfect world.
The solution is to give people a reason to give you referrals, something that goes beyond doing a good deed for you or a friend. It’s perfectly acceptable, and even desirable, to incentivize your referral program.
Here’s an example. I knew a factoring company that offered existing clients one month of free factoring if they referred a new client who signed up. That was potentially a big incentive – factoring isn’t cheap! But the owner of that company got a lot of referrals from clients as a result.
If you decide on this type of referral, make sure to specify under what circumstances you’ll pay out the incentive. A small incentive, like a free basic product or a coupon, might go to anyone who offers you contact information, whether the referral comes to fruition or not. But, if you’re offering a big prize, like a bonus or a free service, you might want to require that the referral turns into a customer before issuing the prize.

Referrals are a great way to grow your business…

And they can help you build up a lot of good will with the people around you. Instead of hoping that people will refer new customers to you, go out and make it happen. A coherent, consistent referral program will help you increase your profits.
Increase Sales

How to Increase Sales on a Shoestring Budget

You’ve got to spend money to make money. Right?
Well… maybe. The truth is that it it’s not that simple.
Many of the tried and true marketing tricks you read about do require a substantial budget. But some don’t.
In fact, there are ways to increase your sales even if you’re running on a shoestring budget. It’s all about getting creative and taking chances with your marketing where it makes sense to do so.
So, with that in mind, here are some super-effective marketing tricks that can help you grow your sales without blowing through your (small) budget.

Use Customer Feedback to Create New Products or Services

Customer Feedback
This first technique can be free – or nearly free. Basically, what you’re doing is talking to your existing customers to find out what else you can do for them.
Let’s look at a simple example. Say your company creates and prints custom business cards. By talking to your clients about their other printing needs, you may be able to attract additional business without spending anything on advertising.
Instead of printing only business cards, you might find an opportunity to print letterhead and envelopes, too. That way, you increase the lifetime value of a single customer, and you can offer your expanded services to new customers, too.

Create a Promotion Schedule

Promotion Schedule
Do your existing customers know when you’ll be running a special? It might sound a bit mundane to run promotions on a schedule but doing so gives your customers something to look forward to. And, it increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you regularly.
This technique is perfect for building customer loyalty, but it can also help you attract new business. When your existing clients know that a promotion is coming, they may be more inclined to tell their friends and colleagues about it.
This is another sales-growth technique that can be carried out for only a few dollars. You’ll want to advertise your promotion a bit. But, once you’re on a schedule – where, say, clients know that you run a promotion every other month – they’ll start to expect it. That means you won’t have to spend as much to promote it!

Cross-Promote Your Products with a Partner

Cross-Promote Your Products with a Partner
Local businesses sometimes miss out on opportunities to team up to generate sales. Simply by scanning the membership list of your local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with plenty of opportunities to cross-promote your products or services.
For example, the owner of a catering company might pair up with a florist or party rental company and offer a special to attract new business. Planning an event can be pricy, and you can attract new clients by giving them an incentive to hire both companies to help them with their event.
Another option might be partnering with another business to create a night out. The owner of a restaurant might offer a free appetizer to people who come in with a ticket stub from the local movie theater. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Doing so can make your business the destination of choice for local patrons.

Revamp Your Content to Focus on Customer Benefits

Revamp Your Content
One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced marketers make is focusing too much on their product’s features and not enough on what the product can do for their customers. Fortunately, this is something you can fix with little to no money.
The first step is to audit your website’s content. If you find that you’re not talking about how your products or services can improve your target audience’s lives, revamp it so the focus is on them. You know your product is awesome, but you need to explain how buying it will benefit your customers.
After that, you can use the same technique to rethink your social media marketing strategy. Focusing on benefits makes your content more shareable than it would be if you simply touted your products. You’re likely to see a bigger return on your investment because you’ll be enticing people to buy your product.

Bundle Products and Services

Bundle Products and Services
Every consumer likes to feel that they’ve gotten a bargain when they buy something. That’s true both in B2C and B2B marketing – and you can use it to your advantage.
There are two ways to approach product bundling. The first is to bundle a basic product with some upgrades and add-ons and offer a price that’s slightly lower than what it would cost to buy everything separately.
The other option is to bundle products that go together in some way. A gift basket is a good example, and businesses use this technique around the holidays. For example, a Valentine’s Day bundle might include perfume, scented lotion, and a candle.

Increase Engagement on Social Media

Increase Engagement on Social Media
Many companies make the mistake of not trying to engage their social media followers when they promote content. That’s a mistake – and in a way, implementing this technique can save you money by increasing your ROI on social media.
One simple technique is to ask your audience a question. Everything you post should include a call to action. When you ask a question, you encourage your followers to respond. The question might be asking their opinion about something you post, or you might ask them which question they’d most like to have you answer in a future post.
Either way, you’re not taking your audience for granted. Getting your social media to engage with you by providing valuable content triggers the cognitive bias called Reciprocity. That’s where people feel obligated to return the favor when you give them something for free.

Nurture Your Leads

Nurture Your Leads
You probably already have an email list – but are you using it well? A lot of businesses aren’t — and revamping your technique can make a huge difference in your sales.
If you’re emailing subscribers rarely, you’re missing out. Most email automation services charge based on the number of subscribers you have. That means you won’t pay any more for increasing the frequency of your emails.
Try creating one or more email sequences, also known as a drip campaign. Focus on explaining the benefits of buying your product, and you’ll likely see an increase in your sales, too.

Marketing Isn’t Just for Millionaires…

… and you don’t have to double your budget to double your sales. Using the simple, inexpensive techniques outlined here can help you grow your business without busting your budget.
GOOD Website

What’s the Definition of a GOOD Website?

Most businesses these days have a website. But is that enough to make your business a success? Is it enough to help your business grow and thrive?
I don’t think so. I’ve seen some pretty terrible websites. Here, I’m talking about sites that are arguably worse than having no website at all. They’re amateurish, ugly, and worst of all…
They’re ineffective. That means they don’t do a single thing to elevate the business they represent. They don’t attract visitors, and when someone lands on the site by chance, they don’t stick around.
The problem is that a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners don’t know what makes a good website. As horrible as this sounds, a lot of web developers don’t know. They might have a handle on one aspect of web design or SEO, and completely miss the boat on others.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a few minutes to define what makes a website good. Once you know, you can create the kind of website that attracts new customers.

First – A Good Website Provides Valuable Information to Visitors

A Good Website Provides Valuable Information to Visitors
Information is where it all starts. Your website is your home base online. Ideally, your website should act as sort of a combination plate, something that encompasses a well-written brochure, an attractive office, a professional receptionist, and an ace salesperson.
Whew. That’s a lot to do with a simple website. But, the good news is that it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Let’s start with the content. Your website must attract visitors – and the only way to do that is to optimize it. That means:

  • Picking the right keywords
  • Using your keywords wisely – in tags and in your content
  • Including internal links to give your site structure and make it easy for visitors to find relevant content
  • Using external links to authority sites to back up your claims or inform visitors

It’s also about varying your content, interspersing written content with relevant images, captivating videos, and visual data (like infographics) to educate visitors about your business. You’ll also need a contact page that makes it simple for people to get in touch with you.
Ultimately, your website should tell people who you are, what you do, and what they stand to gain by doing business with you. If you can accomplish that, the informational aspect of your website is what it should be.

Second – A Good Website Keeps Visitors Engaged

A Good Website Keeps Visitors Engaged
You can have the most beautiful home page in the world. But, if it doesn’t encourage people to read, explore, and stay a while, it won’t matter.
There’s a reason that your Google Analytics tells you the average time visitors spend on your page. That information is valuable. It tells you how engaged visitors are.
Let’s face it, a visitor who lands on your site and spends 90 seconds on a page that should take 10 minutes to read isn’t engaged. And the chances are good that that person didn’t navigate to another page on your site. Instead, they probably clicked the “Back” button and went in search of a more engaging site.
So, what does this mean in terms of defining a good website? It means your site must have:

  • Well-written, engaging, valuable content that keeps visitors glued to your page until they’ve read everything there
  • Intuitive navigation that allows them to find what they need easily, and navigate your site with a minimum of time spent wondering what to do next

It also means that your site should have a responsive design. Mobile use is on the rise and that’s a trend that’s likely to continue. People using mobile devices won’t stay on your site if it’s not easy to read on the device of their choosing. That means no horizontal scrolling, and buttons and menus that adapt for use on a small screen.

Third – A Good Website Converts Visitors to Customers

A Good Website Converts Visitors to Customers
Ultimately, your goal isn’t just to attract visitors to your site. You want to turn those visitors into paying customers. If your site isn’t designed with conversions in mind, then it’s not a good site.
Of course, not every guest will convert on their first visit. That’s why your site needs to present multiple conversion opportunities. Some will focus on turning visitors into leads, while others will focus on making sales.
There are three main features to consider here.

  1. An opt-in form that entices people to sign up for your mailing list is a must. Once someone gives you an email address, they become a lead. It’s your job to nurture them, overcoming their objections and making it impossible for them to resist buying your product or signing up for your service. Ideally, you should have an opt-in option on every page of your site, not just your home page.
  2. A strong call to action is the next must-have feature for a good website. Here, I’m not talking about a single call to action. The most effective websites offer multiple calls to action at strategic points. You might have a static form above the fold on your home page, and then include a scroll-triggered form and a pop-up form to capture people if they leave without opting in. You’ll also need direct sales CTAs on your product pages.
  3. The third conversion-friendly feature to include is a simple, intuitive checkout process. When your checkout process is slow, unwieldy, or intrusive, people may abandon their shopping carts without completing a purchase.

A site that has all three of these features is likely to do a good job of conversion. There’s a missing piece of course. Lead capture is only as good as your lead nurturing campaign. You’ll need to use your email list, social media, and other resources to convince the leads you collect to convert.

Not all websites are good websites…

… but yours can be. Focusing on these three elements – information, engagement, and conversion – can help you capture leads, nurture them, and earn the profits you deserve.
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

Video Marketing
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.