Marketing Tip of the Week: It’s Okay To Alter The Plan

You’ve put together a marketing plan, and you begin implementing your strategy. Before long you realize things aren’t going as you expected. You look at the data and evaluate the situation. You spot the problem, but changing it would result in revising everything. There’s still a chance your original plan will work, just perhaps not as well as you hoped. What do you do?

It’s Up To You

That’s a tough call and not one that anyone else can make. But if you choose to stay the course, make sure you’re not making that decision out of fear. Changing the plan isn’t always the best course of action, but there are plenty of times where it can be. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:

  1. How Far Off Course Are You? - The numbers being below your expectations is not an immediate call to change everything. How off are they? If you’re off by 10-15%, you may be able to make up the difference on another stage of the path. If you’re off by 35-40%, it might be time to revise.
  2. Is It Too Late - Sometimes the faux pas in a marketing strategy can’t be fixed. It’s been done, it’s out there and there’s no taking it back. If you’ve already made the misstep, it doesn’t mean that the rest of your plan is bad. Stick with it if you think there’s a chance of pulling things out. But if the rest of your strategy follows in that same vein, it’s time to pull the plug.
  3. How Critical Was The Error? – Is it the linchpin holding the rest of your strategy together? If so, it’s time for a new course. If not, evaluate the remaining steps and see if there’s a way to pull this thing out.

A marketing strategy gone awry is no reason to panic. In fact, it’s the worst possible time to do so. Keeping a clear head and evaluating the situation thoroughly is always your best chance to pull success from failure!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Customer Surveys, Yes or No?

Are customer surveys important to your business? Well, to find the answer to that, you should ask yourself three very important questions:

  1. Do I own a business?
  2. Do I have customers?
  3. Do I want them to buy more from me?

If the answer to each of those questions is yes, then customer surveys are definitely for you!

Setting It Up

Now that you know you should be doing customer surveys, how exactly does that work? Customer surveys are useful for everything from finding out what content your customers want to see on your blog to judging the success of a marketing campaign, but there are no right or wrong questions or formats. The only thing you really need is the question or questions you want to ask. The real difference is made in choosing your medium.

Choosing Your Audience

If you choose to do a survey on Facebook, you will mostly only get replies from your followers on Facebook. If you have your employees ask a question at the register, you’ll only get replies from walk-ins. If you send out an email question, you’ll get replies from your email list. If it’s on your blog, you’ll get people who read your site.

It’s true that some of those customers may overlap, but most likely you will have many that you’ll only get access to through one area. And that may be exactly what you want. Perhaps the question pertains to Facebook or email or the blog? But if you are looking for as well-rounded a response as possible, remember that you’ll need to post through all these mediums.

So go out there and find the information you really want to know about your customers and their buying habits. All you have to do is ask!

 

Marketing Tip of the Week: Pinterest Success Lies in the Re-pin

Every social media platform is different, and each one requires a different strategy to make your marketing plan effective. For Pinterest, the focus is all on the value of your re-pins.

What’s So Special About Re-Pins?

Of course your original material matters, but it’s impossible to generate enough to make your page interesting to other Pinterest users. Besides if all you post is your own material, you aren’t exactly being social. To involve yourself in the Pinterest community, you have to find pins from other companies and individuals and re-pin them to your page!

Selective Re-Pinning

So if re-pinning is the name of the game, how do you do it most effectively? You ask yourself some important questions:

  • Will this be valuable to my audience? – Re-pins are just as important to regulate as your own material. If it’s not something your audience will enjoy, don’t re-pin it! On the flip side of that, you are more able to target factions within your audience with re-pins because you can post them more often. You aren’t stuck pinning watered down over-generalized items in a vain attempt to reach everyone at once. You are pinning items that will find traction from different niches in your audience thereby growing your audience within those niches. And remember, being good enough for you to re-pin means the item also has to be good enough for your audience to re-pin.
  • Is the source valuable to my business? - A re-pin serves two purposes. One, it delights your followers and promotes re-pins from them, and two, it informs the poster you re-pinned from that you found their pin valuable. That may prompt that poster to come to your board and see if you have anything they might want to re-pin or possibly even follow you as a source of pin fodder in the future. That’s how the social aspect of Pinterest works, and if you are re-pinning from quality, well-trafficked accounts, you’re making it work for you.
  • Is the Pin Popular? - As you re-pin from an account with a large following, look to see how often it has been re-pinned compared to their others. Any pin that hits the sweet spot with their large audience should hit that same sweet spot with yours.

Pinterest is an engaging platform, and now that you understand how to use it properly, you can finally get the most out of your marketing strategy!

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Tips Helping You Maneuver Toward Mobile

Just like online purchasing did before, so is mobile now quickly building a relevant market share. That means if you aren’t already, it’s past time to start taking the mobile marketplace into account when planning and scheduling online marketing. But what do you need to know to be successful? Read on for four easy tips to help you capture your piece of the mobile pie.

1 – It’s All About the Apps

While it’s imperative that you make sure your website is mobile compatible, the real key to any mobile user’s heart is through the app store. Making an app that will allow a user to shop your stock will do wonders, and app usage is increasing yearly whereas mobile website usage is steadily decreasing.

2 – Socially Acceptable

Social media owes a large portion of its success to the advent of the mobile phone. The ability to upload photos and tag locations in real time has made mobile the platform for most any flavor of social media. So it stands to reason that engaging on those platforms will do more to reach a mobile audience than any other marketing venue.

3 – Seize the … Evening?

Timing matters, and most mobile users access their devices in the evening. What better time to sit back and relax with your phone or tablet than after the workday has finished? That means you need to schedule your mobile-targeted marketing to post after 5 pm. It does no good to target an audience that isn’t tuned in.

Reaching the mobile marketplace isn’t complicated, but like anything worth doing, it requires forethought and planning. Now that you are armed with a little information, your mobile plan should yield even better results!

Marketing Tip of the Week: 4 Fantastic Twitter Tips

Is Twitter a medium that you’re still trying to master? Maybe you’re a Facebook guru, and that always seemed good enough. There’s no doubt that Facebook has long been the king of social media, but Twitter is proving itself a contender for the crown on a daily basis. If you haven’t familiarized yourself just yet, you are just one of a large number of business owners.

But the time to wait is over, and delaying any longer is only going to hurt your marketing future. It’s time to learn the Twitter ropes so that you too can make an impact in this rapidly growing social media platform.

#1 – Pictures and Moving Pictures

I’ve said it many times, but I’m going to go ahead and say it again: media makes your post. According to Twitter, tweets that contain an image are retweeted up to 35% more, and those containing videos see a boost of up to 28% more retweets than the standard text post. Make sure you are tweeting with attached media!

#2 – How to Search

The key to increasing your Twitter footprint is in talking to the right audiences. In order to find groups that share your interests, you can use the Twitter search function, but unlike modern search engines, it will not search for each word you type individually. Instead, it searches for the group as a whole, and that can be limiting your search results greatly.

How do you combat this problem? Simply type ‘the/or’ in between words to get full and partial results!

#3 – ‘Group’ Your Followers

Twitter allows you to place your followers in groups your create. Why is this important? Because it gives you the power to sort your followers by whatever method you choose which then makes it easier for you to talk to each group’s interests. In essence, you can personalize your tweets!

You can also set up those who promote your products in a group which customers and potential customers can search for and view as well as place your competitors in a private group so that you can monitor their activities, but no one can get to their feed from you.

#4 – Don’t Forget Communication

And this holds true for all social media. It’s easy to fall into the trap of turning your feed into one big advertisement for your business. The problem is, people don’t want to see or follow that. Social media is about engagement with your audience. Real connection breeds real brand loyalty.

Find things your audience will find interesting and retweet it. Ask open-ended questions (preferably about your industry, but don’t feel restricted), let your followers answer and then give them your actual opinion. This kind of engagement makes you approachable, and when your opinion pans out, it makes it validates you as an expert.

C’mon, folks. The Twitter train is pulling out of the station. Are you on board?

Marketing Tip of the Week: How To Do Native Advertising

In case you are unaware, native advertising is when you attempt to make your advertising look like a natural part of an already existing site. A vendor spotlight here on the FGmarket blog is a perfect example, (And that’s a free service for all our members, by the way. Talk to your sales rep!) but so is any article sponsored by you in your local paper or in your own blog that talks about you and/or your business but isn’t presented in traditional advertisement format.

So how do you do it right?

Make It Relevant

And that works both ways: Your advertisement needs to be relevant to your business and relevant to the audience of the site on which you’re advertising.

The first one seems like a no-brainer, but there are numerous examples of native advertising that has absolutely nothing to do with the company promoting it, especially on the web. But if the customer can’t make an immediate connection between the content and your brand or product, you’re wasting your advertising dollars.

As for the second point, if it doesn’t blend in with the site it’s technically not native. The whole idea is that the content is presented in such a way that it appears to be a natural extension of the site itself.

That being said, it is still important to label paid content as such. The idea is not to deceive the customer, merely make the experience more smooth and engaging than a traditional advert.

Native advertising has proven to be effective for all types of businesses. If you haven’t tried it, you should. And if you are already dipping your toes in the vast ocean of possibilities, make sure it’s being presented properly!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Social Media Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

While there are many campaigns you can design for immediate results, the choice to enter into social media is a process with a slow yield. Sure, when you first start your page, be it on Twitter, Facebook or your other social media site of choice, you will receive a flood of likes, but those are probably all from already established customers or personal friends. Once you’re past that initial onslaught, the pace slows dramatically, and that sudden change can be daunting, especially if you’re not expecting it.

Don’t Be Discouraged

That’s easy to say, but man is it difficult to do, especially if you’re staring at a Like counter or Follower list that never changes. But it’s to be expected. This is social media. It takes time to find people who want to interact with you, and it takes time for you to understand how to interact with them. It’s not as simple as just turning your page into a constant advert for your business. People aren’t fond of commercials, and if all you do is advertise for yourself, they will turn you off.

Follow the 80/20 Rule

What is the 80/20 rule? It’s a social media rule that says 80% of your content should be focused on your followers and 20% should be focused on yourself. Find content that your audience enjoys and direct them to it. Promote the content of industry leaders (especially if those leaders aren’t direct competitors) and show your followers that your page is more than an online billboard for your business. This will build your audience and also make any advertising you actually do that much more effective!

Building an online presence isn’t going to happen overnight, but with some love, care and nurturing, it will eventually blossom. Keep your head up, follow the 80/20 rule and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

Marketing Tip of the Week: YouTube Matters

As social media platforms go, YouTube may be the internet’s best kept secret, especially among business owners. How often do you think about it as a viable platform for your business? My guess is not often, and that needs to change.

Looking at the Numbers

According to the people at Compete, as of June 2014 YouTube surpassed Facebook for most unique visitors. What does that mean? For the month of June, more people made their first ever visit to YouTube than those who made their first ever visit to Facebook. Okay, great. But what does that mean for marketers? It means that YouTube is growing as a social media platform at a now faster rate than Facebook. It means that YouTube is relevant for your marketing dollars and presence.

Getting Involved

So how do you get into YouTube? Fortunately, it’s easy and requires little in the way of initial investment. All you need to get started is a smartphone with a camera, and you’re on your way. The key to a successful video, be it an advert or just a community post, is the same as any other marketing content: keep it concise, sincere and interesting. And that’s really the key. Not every video you post has to be an advertisement, and they shouldn’t be. Just like with your website and other social media, you should give more than you ask.

Social media marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk calls it the give, give, give ask rule. You should always give three times more than you ask to keep your audience engaged.

YouTube is emerging from Facebook’s shadow. It’s time for business owners to take notice.

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Grow Your Audience

If you’re a small business owner, you are always on the lookout for way to grow your audience. After all, the more people following your page(s) the more opportunity you have to convert them into paying customers. But if you’ve already established yourself on the web, how do you take the next step? Read on to find out more! Continue reading “Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Grow Your Audience” »

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Landing Page Improvement Tips

Your landing page is normally the first thing prospective clients searching for you online will see. If you don’t make it engaging, it will also likely be the last. So what can you do to ensure customers continue to the rest of your content? Read on for three tips that will help you improve your landing page today!

1. Keep Your Message Clear

Your mission of clarity must begin with the first thing your customer sees, your headline. It should be concise, relevant and full of meaning regarding your brand. In this way, the customer knows immediately if they’ve come to the right place for the solution to their problem. From there, continue the theme of short and to the point with throughout your site. The one place you can wander far afield is your blog, but the rest of your site needs to remain on point.

2. Be Interesting

Yes, that’s easy to say but difficult to do. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Try to be clever. Amusing, and not just with your copy but images too. Never show a stationary image when one capturing action is available. Also, people connect more with faces than objects. So even if you’re advertising a product, use an image of someone holding it or playing with it or eating it and really enjoying themselves. That’s how you buy immediate customer interest.

3. Credibility is King

You are an expert in your field, and your landing page should reflect that. You have to show your customer that you aren’t just there to sell products. You can offer insight into how to use that product or how to make it last longer. Keep the info concise, but make sure that everything you say is absolutely, 100% true and verifiable. That will build your credibility and your relationship with your customer.

Your landing page is your introduction to the internet world. Shouldn’t it be the best page on your site?