Marketing Tip of the Week: Keep It Positive

When creating marketing content, you want to leave your customer with a good impression of you and your business. After all, a customer who respects the business is a customer ready to buy from that business.

You may believe achieving that result will take some special writing wizadry, but in actuality it’s a simple effect to achieve. Just maintain a positive tone!

The Power of Positive

Customers tend to be more receptive to positive content. Successful content marketers will tell you that negative images, even if directed at the competition, can still cause an association in the customer’s mind with your business. Conversely, positive images also form an association with your business.

That’s why a funny .gif or video is never remiss on your Facebook page or blog. It may not be talking about your company, but the positive feelings it generates will still be associated with your business.

But what about your writing? How do you write content that shows all the ways your business is better than the one down the street without making an explicit comparison?

Keep The Focus On What You Do Well

Write about all the things that you do well. For example: a local florist knows that big online flower stores require customers choose from a set of preselected floral arrangements. But rather than call out the impersonal nature of such a selection, she can comment on how her services allow for personalized customization.

By showing that she can make arrangements which speak directly to the customer’s need or the intended recipient’s tastes, she has effectively set herself apart from the online store without appearing to say anything negative about them in the process.

Staying positive isn’t hard. It just takes a little thought organization. Just remember that for everything negative you want to convey about your competition, it can better be said by focusing on something positive about yourself!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Keep Your Audience On The Hook

Valuable content marketing isn’t just about getting a customer to view one article or social media post. Single views might be great for whatever you’re promoting at that moment, but to build a successful business, you’ll need to keep those viewers coming back for more!

Setting The Hook

The secret to repeat views is setting the hook. That means never giving all the information in one post. The customer must always be left wanting more so they’ll return to get even more information. This can be accomplished most easily by placing a sentence or paragraph advertising your next post at the bottom of each new one. It may require some thinking ahead as you have to plan each article in advance, but it’s sure to keep your viewers thirsty for more!

For social media, teasers are definitely the way to go. Give your viewers a small tidbit of information, and then include a link that takes them to a larger post with even more information. If you place a teaser at the bottom of that piece, you can keep them coming back again and again!

Reeling Them In

Once you’ve given your viewers a reason to come back, you need to continue feeding them quality information. Hooks are great, but if you aren’t giving them value for their time, customers will find somewhere else to go for the knowledge they need. As a business owner, you are a specialist. Present your advice from that angle, and you’re sure to build even more repeat business!

Building and keeping an audience isn’t as hard as it sounds. It merely involves providing quality information and presenting it so that your viewer always has a reason to come back!

Have any tips of your own? Leave them in the comments below, and don’t forget to come back next week for another great marketing tip!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Beating those Post-Holiday Blues

Small businesses normally carry the chorus of the post-holiday blues. Sure big box stores may sing a verse or two as their sales dip, but they have high-paid marketers whose sole job is to make that dip as slight as possible. But how do small businesses ease their own blues burden?

It’s Okay To Borrow

All great blues singers borrow what works from the greats who’ve gone before, and you can do the same. First, you need to look at the big boys who have a business model similar to your own. What are they doing to keep sales going during the seasonal dip? Are they running a sale to get rid of excess holiday material? Are they focusing on the after-Christmas shoppers, advertising deals for the super thrifty? Maybe they are targeting customers who’ve received an early tax return.

Whatever their method, feel free to borrow from it heavily!

Personalize Your Story

So you’ve found a great tune from a successful business you can emulate. That’s great, but you don’t want to follow it note for note. First you’ll need to personalize the lyrics, and add a few notes of your own to truly make their tune your tune.

It doesn’t require an entire revamp, nor should you try to do one. They’ve done the legwork for you, just riff off their idea and change what’s necessary to make it fit your business.

Don’t settle for the blues this January. Use your resources and let the good times roll!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Inject Some Humanity

If there’s one universal truth, it’s that customers prefer to do business with people over nameless, faceless brands. Not that having a brand is bad. It’s actually quite beneficial, but the secret is in having a brand that evokes a personality. So what’s the best way to humanize your brand? Through your marketing, of course!

Involve Your Team

You probably don’t run your store alone, so why should you be the only one featured in your marketing? Do you have an employee or two that likes to write? Give them a go at a blog post to change up the voice a bit. Also, post photos of you and your team online so customers have faces to go with the brand name.

Even better would be to put up some candid shots of your team working behind the scenes. Let customers see the work they (and you) do so they can garner a greater respect for the effort you and your team put in!

Lighten Up

Not every post you make has to be filled with importance and gravitas. Feel free to lighten the mood now and again with the odd joke. You don’t want every post to be a laugh riot, but just like a first date, tossing in one now and again will help to break the ice.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions of your own. Use your customer engagement to get info you might not be able to find any other way.

Your online profile needs to be as personable and interesting as your in-store personality. Don’t drown your customers in branding, show them that there are people behind the curtain!

Marketing Tip of the Week: The Ever Important Call-To-Action

If you regularly read marketing blogs, you’ve already heard all about the call-to-action. It’s a phrase bandied about by all the greats in the business (the business of business?) that has been repeated so often, many no longer see a reason to explain its meaning.

Still, if you aren’t entirely sure what a call-to-action is or how to optimize its use, read on!

Defining the Call

A call-to-action is what you use to spur your customer to action. It can be a sentence at the end of your blog, a button on the bottom of your email, or a statement splashed across your latest ad. Whatever you choose to use, it needs to be clear and concise so the customer knows exactly what they’re supposed to do next. Simple, right?

Absolutely, but sometimes keeping it simple is the problem.

Don’t Over Think It

Your call-to-action doesn’t have to be a mind-blowing statement or even something your customer has never seen before. It’s just a cue to direct them to where you want them to go. It can simply be a button labeled “Buy Now!” a hyperlink that says “Click here to purchase!” or anything in between.

The goal is clarity of purpose. A confused customer is a customer that gives up and goes somewhere else. The call-to-action is like a road sign. It directs the customer where to go next.

You should be using a call-to-action in every piece of content that you write. Even if the post isn’t direct marketing for you business, you should still direct the customer to your products at the end.

Did you like this post? Follow FGmarket on Facebook or give us some of your ideas in the comments below!

Marketing Tip of the Week: 5 Tips To Make All Your Marketing Better

Finding success in marketing may often seem like walking into a brick wall, but there are some basic concepts that can help any form of marketing be better. You’ll find a few of them listed below:

Strengthen the Lead

Customers rarely want to wait around for your marketing content to get to the point. It’s important to start strong and say the most important thing first. This gets the customer’s attention immediately, and consequently lets you spend more time on the explanation.

That’s why you see adverts with 50% OFF splashed in large font while the disclaimers are in smaller print at the bottom or off to the side. It’s not about deception. It’s about getting the customer’s attention so that the will read the rest.

Make It Visual

As you’ve read here many times before, images and graphics do more to get the customer’s attention than any number of beautifully written words. Use graphics, use pictures, use anything and everything you can to catch your customer’s eye. Then keep their attention with your impressive writing skills.

Devote To Details 

Vagueness gets you nowhere fast. Customer’s want to know why they should spend their money with you. You have to provide them those reasons in detail, not broad generalities.

Ex. Quality means nothing without an explanation to back it up. It’s been so overused in marketing speak that it’s a non-word. It has no real meaning to the consumer. Explaining what makes your product quality restores meaning and even lets you define it in your own terms.

 Know Your Audience

No, that doesn’t mean to know them personally. It means to know before you begin exactly who you are targeting with any specific campaign or piece of marketing material. Each should have a specific audience and the more narrow and refined the better. Without that targeted approach, you are throwing darts while wearing a blindfold and hoping to hit the bullseye.

Always Be Closing

Yes, it’s a movie quote (thank you Glengarry Glen Ross,) but it also happens to be excellent advice. Every piece of marketing should have a stated purpose, should have a specific call-to-action for the customer and should be constantly evaluated to see if it’s worth continuing or if it’s time to pull the plug.

Consistency and persistency are important, but knowing when to walk away will always make you more money than sticking to a bad strategy.

Being a good marketer isn’t hard, but it does require adherence to a few universal truths. Have some tips you’d like to share? Add them in the comments below or be social and hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Spice Up Your Images!

Last week I discussed a free site perfect for creating short videos to wow your customer. This week we are going to cover another free site, only this time it focuses on image manipulation.

Let me introduce you to Canva!

The Importance of Images

It’s no secret that customers prefer images to text. Invariably, any post including either will get more views than one without. But although an image has the power to draw attention, they aren’t always able to do the whole job on their own. Clarification often requires a little additional text, and for optimal impact, the best text should be placed directly on the image itself.

But how many business owners are savvy enough on the computer to superimpose text on existing images?

That’s where Canva comes in. They are a free-to-use site that will allow you to modify images with ease adding texture, filters and text in a variety of fonts and colors. There is a pay option if you’d like to do more than the free options allow, but there is plenty of usability without paying a penny.

Create Informative Graphics

With Canva, you can upload an image of your stock or an item you want to showcase, and then place text boxes so you can write on the image itself! You can easily size the boxes and choose the font type and size you need to say exactly what you want to say. Wouldn’t announcing a sale on shoes work better if the image had a large 20% off emblazoned across the front?

But that’s not all Canva offers. You will also be able to create your own images and banners from scratch. That means you can make your social media or website look professional without breaking the bank to have someone come in and do it for you.

Good marketing is all about having the right tools, and free programs that do the work for you are never a bad idea. Have a favorite program of your own? Share it in the comments below!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Get Noticed with Video!

In the online world, be that social media or just your own blog, video is king. But not every business owner is an amateur film-maker, and not everyone has someone on staff capable of filling in the gap. So if you need video but have no idea how to make one, where do you turn?

The simplest program I’ve found is Animoto. And the best part? You don’t actually have to shoot any video at all!

Ease of Use

Animoto provides pre-built video templates each with its own theme and music that use the photos you’ve taken and streams them into a video format. All that’s necessary from you is to insert your photos and hit create, providing an instant video. But that’s if you only want the simplest method.

Customization

There are plenty of options to do things differently if you don’t like everything about the template you choose.

  1. Change Your Background Music - All you have to do is left-click the title of the music from the creation page, and it will let you choose music from a list. It even lets you load your own music, if you want something specific.
  2. Add Text - You can add text at any point in the video simply by choosing the ‘T’ instead of the photo icon. It’s a great way to cue the viewer that different types of products are coming or anything else you’d like to use it for.
  3. Add Logo – If you have a company logo, you can add that as well. There’s a selection bar on the left side of your screen with a convenient Logo button.
  4. Spotlight Individual Photos – If you want certain photos to show up more prominently in your video, that selection bar mentioned above also has a spotlight option!
  5. Increase or Decrease Time Between Photos - You can change the spacing between your photos to extend or reduce the run time of your video. Of course, keeping it viewable is of paramount importance.

And the best part about Animoto? The site is free to use! Of course, the free version doesn’t have all the templates or music options they subscription version has, but there will be plenty there to get you started!

 

 

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: 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. This 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 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!